By Cydney Long
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS 3) ―
The U.S. Transplant Games torch was carried through Atlantic City in the "Run For Life" Relay Friday.
The torch carrier was seven-year-old Erin Brenner, who received a life-saving liver transplant when she was just 10-months-old.
"Without organ donation and without those parents saying yes, I would be spending my Saturday morning at a gravesite instead of playing softball or soccer," said Erin's mother, Irene Brenner.
The torch was passed to raise awareness about the importance and need for organ donations.
Dianne Bottino was greeted by cheers at the finish line. Her husband died at 42 after waiting 10 months for an organ donation.
"Everything was in place for Joe to get his transplant, but there were no donors. In the end, Joe's life rested on a gift and that gift never came," Bottino said.
The New Jersey Assembly passed the "Hero's Act" bill Monday which now requires drivers to select 'yes' or 'no' regarding being an organ donor.
"Everybody who can save a life is a hero, and we all can save a life," said Bottino.
The act will also require mandatory organ donation and transplant education in schools.
"Because he was an organ donor, it just means that he's out there somewhere," said Kathy O'Brien, whose husband donated his organs.
The U.S. Transplant Games flame will begin to burn in Pittsburgh, Pa. in July.
For more info on this year's North American transplant games visit the following links: U.S. Transplant Games 2008 Pittsburgh July 11-16, 2008. Canadian Transplant Games Windsor, ON Aug 5-10, 2008.
“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Your generosity can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance another 50 through cornea and tissue donation