Balloon Flight Raises Awareness of Organ Donations
There are over 90 balloons flying in the Great Reno Balloon Race. But a flight, Friday, was on the special side.
May 17, 2011. That's the day when Deanna Santana's son, Scott, was involved in an accident while driving home from school in Placerville.
"He was doing 30 mph in a 35 mph zone," said Santana. "It was raining and he lost control of his car."
Scott died a few days later. Butut because he was an organ donor, part of him is still alive today.
"We say on the worst day of our lives, five families got the best news of their lives," she said.
His organs saved five people, gave sight to two Northern Nevadans, and his tissue went to 73 people.
"Organ donation is an act of generosity," said Tracy Bryan, Spokesperson of Sierra Donor Services. "That's what this is about. Giving life to another human being is the greatest gift we can give one another."
Gary Narberes, from Sacramento, knows all about the power of organ donations.
"I was existing rather than living," said Narberes. "But the moment I got the call, that's when my life changed for the better."
Friday, the two took flight together. A mom who lost her son, and a man, who's alive today because of somebody else's loss.
"I know personally somebody has lost their life for me to continue mine," said Narberes. "So the best I can do is live my life to the fullest."
Flying in a hot air balloon for the first time is living life to the fullest, he says. Neither Santana nor Narberes have flown in a balloon before. They cherished every second of it.
"It was very peaceful," he said. "Very relaxing. In fact, it was the fastest hour of my life, basically."
"It was amazing," said Santana. "There aren't words to describe it."
Today's ride is also about raising awareness. In 2014, over 6,100 Americans died while waiting for a transplant.
"There is a critical need for organ donors in Northern Nevada," said Bryan. "600 People are waiting for life saving organ donations in Nevada."
If you'd like to become a donor, or learn more about organ donations in Nevada, here's a link to Sierra Donor Services.