Thirteen-Year-Old to Join National Cyclist for “Donors Rock Ride” in California’s Capital City

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(Sacramento/Folsom, CA) Seventh grader Connor Ellison (Folsom, CA), who suffers from a life-threatening liver disease, will meet up with fellow cyclist and founder of the Society for Organ Donor Awareness (SODA), kidney recipient David Landsberg at Mike’s Bikes of Sacramento (1411 I Street) on August 19th at 7:00 a.m. Together they will lead the California stretch of the “Donor’s Rock Ride.”

The “Donor’s Rock Ride” being attempted by Landsberg, covers 50 miles in all 50 state capitals, finishing in 50 days! The ultimate goal is to increase the number of registered organ, eye and tissue donors, and the more people that ride along, the better. The ride has never been done before by any cyclist, let alone by a kidney transplant recipient.

David Landsberg is a walking miracle. He received a kidney transplant in July 1999 from a young boy who tragically lost his life. Landsberg, a resident of the state of Texas, is now paying it forward by reaching out to the country in a way that he hopes will display his passion and determination for the 110,000 Americans waiting for a life-saving transplant. “I try to live every day like I am earning the right to have this kidney and honor someone else who gave it to me,” said Landsberg. “A six-year old boy lost his life, and his parents were so gracious to give me a second chance at mine. I am always grateful for an opportunity to share my story and become an inspiration to others looking for hope.”

Connor himself suffers from a life-threatening liver disease called Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis that causes scar tissue to form in the liver, blocking blood flow and increasing the risk of internal bleeding. Connor may need a liver transplant in the future, which doesn’t stop him from overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds not only for himself, but for others literally fighting for their lives. In 2010 Connor was the youngest ever to complete the grueling cycling event Race Across America (RAAM) – a 3,000 mile transcontinental bike trek, with Team Donate Life. As an ambassador for organ and tissue donation, Connor hopes to inspire others to join his cause again on August 19th by leading the ride with his optimism and dedication.

To recognize his unique approach to spreading such a valuable message and impact this public health crisis, Team Donate Life will present Landsberg with a cycling jersey from the Donate Life California community. “We are grateful for SODA’s remarkable dedication to saving lives, says CEO of Golden State Donor Services, Monica Johnson- Tomanka. “You too can become part of the solution by signing up on the Donate Life California Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. The old pink sticky dot does not mean you are on the registry. You can only be on the updated Registry three ways: sign up through the DMV to have the new permanent pink dot on your license – sign up on the www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org website or call 916-567-1600 to request a registry form.”

About the Society for Organ Donor Awareness
The Society for Organ Donor Awareness (S.O.D.A.), is dedicated to educating the public about the need for life saving organ and tissue donation. Demonstrated through bicycle, endurance events and heart-warming stories from transplant recipients, the organization hopes to show what full, useful and productive members of society recipients can become after transplantation. By creating the inspiration and motivation for people to register as organ donors, S.O.D.A. changes lives and increases organ and tissue donation. For more information, visit www.societyfororgandonorawareness.org.

About Mikes Bikes
Mike’s Bikes was founded in 1964 as one of Marin County’s very first Schwinn shops. Cycling has changed dramatically as the decades have rolled by, but Mike’s Bikes has never wavered from total dedication to the sport. Today, Mike’s Bikes is part of a growing family of local bike shops, all with a singular purpose – to get as many people on bikes as possible. Locally owned and operated their professional staff of over 170 cycling enthusiasts ensure that each customer’s experience both in the store and on their bike are the best they can be. For more information, visit: http://mikesbikes.com.

About Team Donate Life (TDL)
What started as a simple, crazy idea of some doctors wanting to spread the message of hope and health for future transplant patients, has turned into a passionate community of runners, cyclists, ultra-athletes, and friends who care about making a difference in the world. Team Donate Life is not all about extreme athletes. It is also a community of regular cyclists that have chosen to rally around a great cause… saving lives through organ donation and transplantation. Whether you are a seasoned, competitive cyclist, or just getting started as a beginner in the sport for recreation, you are invited to join the TDL cycling community. For more information, visit: www.teamdonatelife.com.

About Sierra Donor Services (SDS)
SDS is a private, nonprofit agency facilitating organ and tissue donation/transplantation in Northern Califonia and Nevada.  SDS is fully accredited by AATB (American Association of Tissue Banks) to recover tissue within hospitals served in inland Northern Californa and Northern Nevada.  SDS helps administer the Donate Life California Organ and Tissue Donor Registry.  For more information about the Registry in California, the process and how donation saves and improves lives, visit: www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org, or in Spanish:www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org.  For Nevada, please visit: www.nvdonor.org.  Or sign up to give life through the DMV when you apply for or renew your driver’s license.  Say “Yes!” to life every time.