TDL started with the simple story of a patient… and a doctor. In August 2003, Jason Weckworth donated his kidney to his father. Four months after their transplant, Jason ran the California International Marathon, demonstrating how quickly live donors can return to a very normal and healthy lifestyle with full recovery soon after transplants.
One year later in September 2004, Dr. Ric Perez, Chief of the UC Davis Medical Center Transplant Division, called Jason to ask him to participate in the Race Across America (RAAM) 2005 with a group of UCD Medical Center doctors and surgeons, including Dr. Eric Heiden, the 5-Time Olympic Gold Speed Skater. This group of athletic-minded medical staff wanted to further publicize transplantation by entering the hardest bicycle race in the world… with a donor patient in their group. (Of course, no one knew that Jason didn’t even own a bike at the time… until this website story was published! p.s. don’t tell Eric!)
Needless to say, RAAM 2005 was a huge success with media interviews and news stories throughout the country. The event brought significant attention to the cause of organ transplant and donation and Team Donate Life has supported many more RAAM teams since. TDL has since supported countless runners, cyclists and triathletes as they strive to compete for the cause and make a difference.
What started as a simple, crazy idea of some doctors wanting to spread the message of hope and health for future transplant patients and donors has turned into a passionate community of runners, cyclists, ultra-athletes, and friends who care about making a difference in the world.