I can still vividly recall the moment in September 2006 when the vision of My Angel Foundation first came to me. A couple of weeks earlier, on August 29th, I had received the most compassionate, loving and selfless gift from my mother, a life-saving kidney. During my recovery, I often reflected on my personal journey; all the surgeries and medical challenges as a kid, going through end-stage renal disease and ultimately receiving the Gift of Life at 28 years old. The one constant throughout my journey was that I was extremely blessed! God provided family, friends and a community that were always there to support me and my family. Through this reflection, the My Angel Foundation vision came to fruition.
In 2006 there were only around 90,000 Iowans on the Iowa Donor Registry. It was my vision to personally do what I could to help increase that number by inspiring Iowans to become registered organ, eye and tissue donors. It was my goal, through educational outreach and events, that those on the national transplant waiting list would hopefully receive a second chance at life, as I had. In January 2007 My Angel Foundation was officially established.
Today, nearly 13 years later, because of organizations like My Angel Foundation, Iowa Donor Network [IDN] and Iowa Lions Eye Bank [ILEB], updated legislation and the passion-driven efforts of many families who have been impacted by organ donation, there are now 1,881,774 Iowans who have registered as organ donors.
I am extremely proud of all the work My Angel Foundation has done over the years in helping to spread awareness about organ donation in Iowa. From our statewide programs of “Mark Yes” and “The Power of Yes”, to events like dragon boat races, 48-hour relay across Iowa, twenty 5Ks & 10Ks Run and Walks, it has been a blast! This past April we had over 1,300 participants at the 2019 GREEN 5K Fun Run and Walk!
My Angel Foundation has accomplished so many achievements over the years. In 2017 we funded the Wall of Heroes Donor Wall at Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. We are currently working with Mercy Hospital on funding a Wall of Heroes Donor Wall at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. My Angel Foundation is also committed to helping fund the UIHC Wall of Heroes Donor Wall in Iowa City, should it be determined the funds are needed to help accomplish this endeavor.
Over the past 13 years, leading My Angel Foundation has been a huge blessing and privilege. I feel confident the foundation has successfully served its original purpose. After a lot of prayers and reflection, I have decided to conclude my work through My Angel Foundation. 2019 will be the last year of operation for My Angel Foundation.
The GREEN 5K Fun Run and Walk will continue! In April 2019, My Angel Foundation officially handed off operations of the GREEN 5K Fun Run and Walk to Iowa Donor Network. For more information about the 2020 GREEN 5K Fun and Run visit www.IowaDonorNetwork.org.
I am eternally grateful for the countless volunteers, thousands of financial & event supporters, and all the board members that have helped guide My Angel Foundation through the years and helped make my personal vision a reality.
I look forward to continuing to support organ, eye and tissue donation awareness in different capacities.