Friday, Sept. 10 would have been Alex Anderson’s 40th birthday. Anderson died in May 2020 and is survived by an extended network of family and friends, many of whom live in the Reno, Nevada area. An athlete and avid skier, Anderson was a registered organ donor and saved the lives of four people through organ donation.
“Alex’s gift to our family, as well as to the people he donated four of his vital organs to – his heart, liver and kidneys – was that he made this decision on his own, self-selecting himself as an organ donor when he registered at the DMV,” Dawn Tindal, Anderson’s mom, said. “Through his own compassion and thoughtfulness, he gave four people a second chance.”
This weekend, as more than 100 hot air balloons float through the Truckee Meadows for the 40th Anniversary of The Great Reno Balloon Race, Anderson’s family will gather to commemorate his 40th birthday. While they had hoped to celebrate Anderson’s life at The Great Reno Balloon Race on Friday, they instead chose to hold a private, smaller celebration of life with friends and family, watching the Balloon Race from a distance.
“Because Alex died early-on in the pandemic, our family has not yet come together to celebrate Alex’s life. I am hoping this weekend brings us all some of the closure that’s been missing since he died,” Tindal said.
A Donor Network West Ambassador since January 2021, Tindal has been working to extend her son’s legacy by sharing with others the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. She says that what began as a way for her to come to terms with the loss of her son, has helped her own recovery from grief by working to inform others of the second chances organ donation can provide.
There are currently more than 600 Nevadans on the organ transplant waiting list. Nationally, the number is even higher. More than 100,000 people across the country are waiting on an organ transplant.
Donor Network West, Sunday’s The Great Reno Balloon Race Dawn Patrol sponsor, has helped facilitate the recovery of every lifesaving organ in northern Nevada for the past 30 years. The non-profit, federally-designated organ procurement organization, is dedicated to helping provide people with a second chance at life through organ and tissue donation for transplantation and research.
“We are honored to be a part of The Great Reno Balloon Race, a northern Nevada landmark event,” said Janice Whaley, president and CEO of Donor Network West. “Our support for this event is an extension of our community efforts to raise awareness about the vital importance of organ, eye and tissue donation and to help give the many Nevadans waiting a second chance at life. We encourage everyone to consider registering to become an organ donor so together, we can help save and heal more lives.”
As part of its sponsorship, Donor Network West will have a booth at the event all three-days, educating attendees about organ, eye and tissue donation. On Sunday, Donor Network West is sponsoring Donor Awareness Day at The Great Balloon Race, which will feature a special Donor Awareness Walk, a Wall of Hope exhibit and anyone who shows the organ donation heart on their driver’s license or considers registering to become an organ donor can receive a free green glow bracelet at the Donor Network West booth. Donor Network West will also be handing out customized trading cards of their sponsored balloon, Firenze, which is piloted by Koh Murai, a kidney transplant recipient.
Anyone can register to be an organ donor. To learn more and to register as an organ donor, visit DonorNetworkWest.org.
— @MyDNWest —
About Donor Network West
Donor Network West saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation and research. The organization was established in 1987 and is an official Donate Life organization accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Federally designated to serve 45 counties in northern Nevada and northern California, Donor Network West has headquarters in northern Nevada and California and partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registries. For information, visit DonorNetworkWest.org and follow us on social media: @mydnwest.