87 %
$4,374.45
raised of $5,000 target
by 98 supporters
Donate
Chelsea Alventosa avatar
Chelsea Alventosa

500 Miles for Linda

I am walking 500 miles in memory of my mom for Upstate New York Transplant Services Inc because I want to celebrate my healthy body and help UNYTS

87 %
$4,374.45
raised of $5,000 target
by 98 supporters
Donate

Upstate New York Transplant Services Inc

Charity Registration No. 161172453

Story

In 2000, my perfectly healthy 39-year-old mom had a sudden brain aneurysm and passed away unexpectedly less than 2 weeks after my 11th birthday. This obviously had a huge impact on how I was raised and who I am as a person, and I honestly always felt pretty bitter about how unfair it was that I had to grow up without her. I learned to deal with my grief in my own ways as the time passed but every milestone still stings.

Four years ago my aunt shared a letter with me that I hadn't seen before. It was a letter from Upstate New York Transplant Services (UNYTS) detailing their gratitude for my family's decision to donate my mom's organs. It informed us that a 33-year-old man from Wisconsin received a kidney and her pancreas. A 33-year-old woman from Buffalo got her other kidney and a 56-year-old woman received her liver. A person in Indianapolis got one of her corneas and another was sent all the way to Germany. Additionally, other eye tissue was donated to researchers searching for cures for eye diseases, and her veins were donated to people in need of bypass surgery. Even bone tissue was donated, which could have helped as many as 40 people.

I was in shock. All this time I had thought my mom was gone forever, but really, she lived on all around me in others who received transplants literally all over the world.

I have always been overweight, and even obese, but reading that letter four years ago flipped a switch inside me. My mom's early death was not preventable, but my own could be. I completely changed my life in 2013 and have since lost 50 lbs, and counting. I'm even on my way to completing an MSc in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health this September to help others attain a healthy lifestyle and prevent non-communicable diseases through doing so.

To celebrate the completion of my degree and to show myself what my body and mind are capable of, I am walking the 500-mile Camino de Santiago in Spain with 3 friends from September 14th to October 19th, 2017. It will be a 33 day journey and I am so excited for the challenge. I want to celebrate my health and reassure myself that if I were to die unexpectedly, my body would be healthy enough to give the gift of life to others. I am raising money for UNYTS because through their services, my mom's death was not in vain. 

I have a goal of raising $10 per mile—a total of $5,000. I know it's quite a lofty goal, but I'd love to make a large donation in memory of my mom to help UNYTS continue their services in upstate New York.


Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.


If you can't donate financially, I urge you to think about signing up to be an organ donor here: https://www.organdonor.gov/index.html. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my story and for all of your support!

Photos

3

Supporters

98