Des Moines, IOWA -- This weekend, runners will take to the streets of Manson, to honor a young woman who was a lung transplant twice but never lost her love of life.
Emily Markert underwent two lung transplants after contracting a form of pneumonia in 1999. She passed away in 2014.
Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel meet Emily in 1999 when they were hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic. They shared the same doctor and surgeon and bonded during their time in ICU. He says the race was her dream and she was planning it up until the day she died.
"Just because of her experience, I want to live my life with as much joy as much as I can, because she had such a zest for life and lived every day like it was her last. That's she left that amazing legacy she left on me and hopefully with so many others across the country," says Hoffman-Zinnel.
The Iowa Donor Network says more than 600 people in our state are waiting for a transplant and every ten minute another person is added to the list. Kaylie Hoyle, the Director of Philanthropy at the Iowa Donor Network, says nationally there are 115,000 people on the waiting list. "If you think of that as two average size football fields and walking into that waiting room and knowing that you are going to have to sit and potentially wait years and years, it's very scary," says Hoyle.
The Emily Markert Annual 5K is Saturday, August 3rd. It's in Manson, starting at Floral Hall on North Main. The event starts at 8:30 a.m.. Emily will be honored just before the start of the run/walk. You can register here.
If you'd like to register to become an organ and tissue donor, you can sign up on the Iowa Donor Network website or chose to be a donor when you obtain your driver's licence.