Friends run in Shamrock Marathon to bring awareness to organ donations

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Over 13,000 people came to the Oceanfront to celebrate Shamrock Marathon Weekend, including two friends with a mission.

Jeff Beavers and Wendy Swoope have known each other since high school. That’s when Beavers was first diagnosed with kidney failure.

“I was originally diagnosed with kidney failure when I was 18,” said Beavers. “I’ve since had two transplants that lasted a combination of 29 years.”

Beavers is back on dialysis three times a week and needs another kidney donation to live.

That’s where Swoope came in. She learned she wasn’t a good match for Beavers, but could still save another life.

“Sentara has this program now that, even if you’re not a match, you can donate on behalf of someone,’ said Beavers.

“I was a good donor, but not necessarily for Jeff. So they pair you up, they put you on the National Kidney Registry and as soon as a match comes up for him, then my kidney will be released for someone else,” said Swoope.

Beavers says there’s a few reasons why he wanted to run out here this weekend. One reason was to raise awareness for organ donations. The second was for his health.

“Back in September, when Wendy told me she was going to be donating a kidney for me, that inspired me to start getting get back in shape and to be the best recipient that I could possibly be. So uh when the race was coming up I suggested to her and we decided to do it together ,” said Beavers.

The two hope sharing their story will inspire others.

“Organ donation has meant so much to me. It’s allowed me to have a whole life and it means so much for Wendy to do this now, this later part of my life when it’s harder to get a transplant,” Beavers said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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