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Brotherly Love Run: Organ Donation Advocate Runs From Pacific to Atlantic

A Mullica Hill, New Jersey native will dip his toes into the Atlantic Ocean as he ends his cross-country run to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation next week.

Brotherly Love Run: Organ Donation Advocate Runs From Pacific to Atlantic

Mullica Hill, NJ, Native Completes Coast-to-Coast Run for Brother, Organ Donation

The Story of Brotherly Love

On December 6, 1992, Brian Praetzel was born with hypo-plastic kidneys and required ongoing support and medical care. His family—including his older siblings—rallied quickly behind their newest member, and soon learned that he would need a kidney transplant.

“From birth, the doctors gave Brian little hope for survival,” says Brian’s older brother and close friend, Chris Praetzel. “Luckily, doctors were able to find a match for Brian’s kidney and with a successful transplant he was able to live.” In late February of 1996, then-three-year-old Brian received his kidney at a Philadelphia transplant center, and since that time, the Praetzel family has adopted a culture of gratitude—including Chris, who wanted to raise awareness about organ donation through a run across the country he dubbed The Brotherly Love Run (

“The concept for the Brotherly Love Run was to run across America for organ donor awareness,” says Chris Praetzel, who plotted a course for running and walking across the United States that began on the west coast. “For more than two years, this idea has been stuck in my mind daily.”

On May 23, 2012 Praetzel dipped his toes in the Pacific Ocean, then began his run in Santa Monica, CA. Throughout the spring and summer, Praetzel made his way across the country, stopping to sleep, eat and discuss the critical need for donation with anyone who would listen, blogging about his experience along the way. (

More than 6,500 men, women and children in Gift of Life’s region are currently awaiting a life-saving organ transplant. Throughout the course of his run, Praetzel engaged people along the way in conversations about these alarming statistics and the need for becoming a registered organ donor.

Nearly four months later, Praetzel is preparing to finish reach his family’s home in Mullica Hill, NJ, and to complete his run in Atlantic City next week. Praetzel’s brother Brian, their family, friends, and representatives of Gift of Life Donor Program and AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center will welcome Praetzel to his “finish line,” the Atlantic Ocean, where he’ll end his donation journey with a splash by dipping his toes into the water.

“As a Regional Trauma Center, we witness the generosity of individuals and their families who make the lifesaving gift by choosing donation,” said Pam Peterson, RN, clinical director, Critical Care, ARMC. “We applaud Chris for his commitment to raising awareness about the importance of organ donation and for paying the gift to his brother forward.”

“I am deeply touched,” says recipient and brother Brian, who will be celebrating his 20th birthday in early December. “I truly hope that the Brotherly Love Run will accomplish its goal of spreading awareness for organ donation and inspiring people all over the world to become registered donors.”

Gift of Life Donor Program is the non-profit, federally designated organ and tissue transplant network serving eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. For more than 37 years, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 33,000 organ transplants, along with more than 300,000 tissue transplants.

Gift of Life encourages those who want to make the commitment to donate to register online at For more information on organ and tissue donation, please call Gift of Life at 1-800-DONORS-1 (1-800-366-6771) or visit at

Find Related Info
Classroom Resources, Organ Donors, Media Resources, Kidney Transplant, Youth Outreach

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