OGDEN -- Mark Theobald received a new kidney six years and five days ago.
The donation was a surprise from his sister, Nancy Peterson, who lived in Texas. While Theobald, of Layton, was receiving kidney dialysis treatments, Peterson was being tested to see if she qualified to give one of her kidneys to her brother. After nearly five months of testing, Peterson was told she could donate to her brother. She picked up the phone and told him the news.
"She told me there was only one problem and that was the fact that she was getting older and she was going through some changes," Theobald said. "I told her if I got irritable and got a few hot flashes I'd take them. Anything beats dialysis."
Theobald and Peterson spoke at the 15th annual Dash for Donations held at Weber State University on Saturday. The 5k run, 2k walk raises funding and awareness for organ and tissue donation.
"Right now there are 110,000 American's on the waiting list. Four hundred of those people are from Utah," said Deedra Hansen Lambert, volunteer coordinator for the race
Alex McDonald, public education director for Intermountain Donor Services, said the waiting list continues to grow.
"Out of those 110,000 there are approximately 80,000 waiting for a kidney," he said. "One way to overcome this problem is to become a donor."
Lisa Largent of Ogden lost her husband to a drowning accident eight years ago. When he died, she knew he wanted to be a donor.
"He was able to donate tissue and skin," she said. "I'm really grateful we had talked about it before he died. His death was so unexpected and so much was happening but that was one issue I absolutely knew the answer to. I didn't even have to think about it. He wanted to donate."
Largent has participated in the race for the past five years. She said it's a good way to honor her husband because his birthday is right around the time of the race.
The race was sponsored by Intermountain Donor Services, McKay-Dee Hospital, Ogden Regional Medical Center and several area businesses.
"While we are always competing to provide the best medical care for the people of northern Utah, and each of us knows we are better than the other, we have also seen the miracle of organ, eye and tissue donation and that is why we have come together to support this great cause," said Craig Bielik, marketing director for Ogden Regional Medical Center. "There is no competition at this event today."
Nearly 300 people participated in the event.
To learn more, visit www.yesutah.org.