Organizers of the largest fundraiser for South Carolina's organ and tissue donation organization, LifePoint Inc., are trying to make their event bigger and better - and even more lucrative for participants.
LifePoint has added a 10K, and a sizeable package of prize money, to its usual 5K and fun run for its renamed Race for Life. The previous eight events were the Gift of Life 5K and 2K.
"We're really wanting to grow this event," says Mark Johnson, noting that about 400 of the 500 people who signed up last year endured pouring rain to make it, and that they foresee that number doubling.
On Saturday, the event will start with a 5K at 9 a.m., followed shortly by a half-mile fun run. The 10K will start at 9:45 a.m. It will be held on the winding trails and roads of James Island County Park.
To draw competitive runners to an otherwise non-competitive race, the event is offering prizes of $300, $200 and $100, respectively, to the top three male and female finishers in the 10K and $200, $100 and $50 for the top three male and female finishers in the 5K.
"With the 10K, we're pitching it as a warm-up to the Cooper River Bridge Run," Johnson says of the April 5 event.
Meanwhile, double-lung transplant recipient Lorcan Lucey, president of Lucey Mortgage Corp., is putting up bigger prize packages for the high school teams who send the most registrants. Top schools get $1,200, $800 and $500, respectively.
For the high school competition, each team must have a minimum of 15 paying participants in order to qualify. Teams can include students, parents and relatives; it is not limited to students. To be a part of a team, simply signify the team at registration.
But the deadline to sign up as a team is at 5 p.m. Thursday.
For a charity event this size, $4,400 in prizes is sizeable, but by offering those incentives, LifePoint hopes to gain even more.
Part of what's driving organizers to make it a better event is the desire to send a team from South Carolina to the Donate Life Transplant Games of America in Houston in July, says Johnson.
"The overall concept of the games is that (organ) transplants work and that if people are given the chance to live, they can compete just like everyone else," says Johnson.
Also on Saturday, Johnson says the event will honor the memory of Peyton Moore, a 9-year-old Mount Pleasant child who died in June following complications from a seizure. His parent, Jennifer and Noah Moore, are forming a team to participate in his memory.
And Peyton's artwork will be featured on the race T-shirt.
Meanwhile, the mission continues to be getting the word out on the importance of registering to being an organ donor.
For those who won't make it out to the event Saturday, you can help solve the critical shortage of organs and tissues needed for transplants by registering your legal consent on the South Carolina Organ and Tissue Donor Registry.
To do so, register online at Donate Life South Carolina or at the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, online or in-person when obtaining, renewing or changing your driver's license and identification information.
The need for organ donors has never been greater. Presently, there are more than 110,000 people on the national waiting list who need a life-saving organ transplant. Of those, about 1,000 are registered in South Carolina.
Despite all the public information, the problem remains simple: many healthy people who die suddenly in a tragic accident that leads to brain death and who could donate their organs to save others' lives simply don't become donors.
Those who do have the potential to save the lives of as many as eight people by donating all of their organs. They also can enhance the lives of hundreds more people through tissue and ocular donation.
Meanwhile, Fleet Feet in Mount Pleasant is holding a women's-only "Diva Night" from 7-9 p.m. Thursday at their store.
The event, which costs $5 to get in, raises money for the store's "Support the Girls" program, which seeks to provide quality sports bras to girls who need them in local schools.
Diva Night will include a trunk show of Pearl Izumi's newest fitness apparel line, a guest speaker, healthy cooking demos and giveaways, along with a raffle for an entry into the sold-out Nike Women's Half Marathon in Washington.
Reach David Quick at 937-5516.