Seven Transplant Recipients to Lead Riders at the 7th Annual ‘RIDE FOR LIFE’ for Organ & Tissue Donation Awareness

Memphis, TN, June 20, 2018 – Seven transplant recipients will lead the riders during the 7th Annual ‘Ride for Life for Organ & Tissue Donation Awareness’ which will take place on Sunday, June 24, 2018 at 7:00 am at Memorial Park (5668 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN, located at Poplar Avenue @ I-240 – the Ride will begin and end there) — rain or shine. This event (25-mile ride and 1-mile kid’s fun ride) is a non-competitive, family friendly, scenic biking tour through East Memphis and Midtown. It’s designed to encourage health and wellness, while promoting the need for Mid-Southerners to register as Organ and Tissue Donors. Event registration includes SAG support, breakfast by the Crepe Maker and Say Cheese, T-shirt, finisher medal and post-ride party. (

Transplant recipients John Daniel, (heart), Patrick Taylor (heart), Amber Pettis (kidney), Patrick Johnson (kidney), ARTavius Veasey (kidney), Chase Treadway (liver) and James Cruse (liver) will lead the riders!

More than 20 years ago John Daniel’s heart was damaged by a viral infection and he was told he’d need a transplant one day. In September 2014 his heart gave out and he couldn’t walk without assistance. A year later he received the Gift of Life. John says: “I’m honored to have another chance at life with my wife and our three sons.”

Patrick Taylor appeared healthy and played soccer in high school and college. One night, he passed out at the dinner table followed by his heart racing. He ran 3 miles that morning and was shockingly diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. To keep his heart in normal rhythm he got a pacemaker and defibrillator. For the next 10 years he had no major episodes but his heart function began to decline. He was placed on the waiting list in January 2017 when was only 32 years old. Patrick says: “I received my new heart last year and immediately felt so much better. I could breathe easily and colors looked so much brighter. I’m working full-time now and running 1 -2 miles. I’m able to spend time with my wife and our three young daughters. It’s been such a blessing. About donation – Doesn’t make any sense if your organs still work and you’re not going to use them anymore – why not give them away?”

When Amber was 28 she went to the doctor (thinking she had a stomach virus) and was diagnosed with end stage renal failure with no prior warnings. She began dialysis immediately while waiting for a kidney.  Now three years post-transplant, Amber says: “ I have been blessed with a second chance at life. I have 3 very important responsibilities: live life to the fullest, share my story to encourage organ donation, and take care of my organ by staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She won several medals including bowling and darts at the Transplant Games of America in June 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.(TGA is a biennial multi-sport event for organ and tissue recipients, and living donors)

Patrick was an avid track and field runner and basketball player when a routine exam for work found lesions on his kidney which had to be removed. Then the remaining kidney became overworked and he was put on the waiting list. Since his transplant he’s living a full life and enjoying sports again. While at the Transplant Games in 2016 he won a gold medal in ballroom dancing and participated in the track events.

Born and raised in Memphis Tennessee, ARTavius (‘Tay’) was destined to be something special. He was born prematurely at 7 months old and was diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of three. He Underwent dialysis for 15 months and receiving a transplant from his father July 15,2005 which was almost 13 years ago and he’s still going strong. He’s now in grad school at Full Sail University getting his Masters’ Degree in Media Design with graduation the winter of 2018. He’ll be making his second appearance at the Transplant Games of America He attended the 2016 games and brought home a bronze medal for the 400m dash in the track and field competition.

Amber, Patrick and Tay are registered to compete in August at the Transplant Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, with Team Mid-South and plan to bring home gold!

Chase Treadway was diagnosed with biliary atresia (a childhood disease of the liver in which the bile ducts are blocked) a few months after he was born.  He was put on the waiting list but his mom Shelley was able to give him part of her liver 3 days before his first birthday. At that time, living related surgeries were very new and not as common as they are today. They are a true success story as that was 22 years ago and neither one of them have had any medical issues! Chase will be 23 in July and is currently studying engineering at Mississippi State. Chase said: “I never think about it. It’s just a scar and I’ve never known myself without it.”

James was diagnosed with a virus that resulted in stage four liver failure. After being on the waiting list for two years he received a liver transplant.

“I define myself as a modern day miracle” James said. “My struggles and survival have been the pivotal influences in my life. They lead me to volunteer and write about my trials & triumphs.. My testimonies are designed to encourage, inspire, uplift, and motivate others to be organ and tissue donors.”

Donation changes lives every day; however, many more lives can be saved. Ride for Life hopes to bring awareness of the tremendous need and to encourage more people to register as organ and tissue donors. There are currently more than 115,000 on the national waiting list waiting for a life-saving transplant. Of that total, almost 3,000 live in the Mid-South with 87% of those in need of a kidney due to the high degree of diabetes and high blood pressure in our community. Sadly, an average 22 people die each day. Every 10 minutes someone is added to the national waiting list. One organ donor can save up to eight lives and one tissue donor can enhance the lives of more than fifty people.

Dr. James B. Latta, D. Min., suggested the event as an affirmation of life and an opportunity to promote organ and tissue donation. Dr Latta said: “I wanted all of us to create an event to celebrate the Gift of Life. “According to Hannah Moore, Funeral Director, Memorial Park and the major sponsor of the event: “Throughout the years, we at Memorial Park have seen firsthand the tremendous benefits that are derived from the eternal gift of organ and tissue donation. Since we are literally now in the heart of the city, we wanted to use our proximity to promote the ideals of the Mid-South Transplant Foundation and encourage folks to consider giving a gift that will outlast their lifetime.”

For more details on the Ride for Life or to register visit or


Contact:   Randa Lipman
Mid-South Transplant Foundation

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