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Heart Transplant Recipient Leads 5-Mile Walk to Create Organ Donor Awareness

Montefiore Transplant Patient, Roxanne Watson, Joined by Donor Family

Bronx, NY (October 15, 2011) - It was a joyous moment at the culmination of a five-mile 'Walk for Life' organ donor awareness march this weekend.  It was especially noteworthy since the walk's leader, a 57-year-old heart transplant recipient, Roxanne Watson, led the contingent of about 30 supporters up the Grand Concourse from Yankee Stadium to Montefiore Medical Center where she underwent the successful heart transplant operation only a year-and-a-half-ago.

Roxanne was in the hospital waiting for her new heart for 104 days. "I was dying, but I never thought I was going to die because of the care I received at Montefiore," she told those present.

While awaiting a donated heart, Roxanne received care from a multi-disciplinary team of experts from the Center for Advanced Cardiac Care of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart & Vascular Care. 

Joining Roxanne at Montefiore, for a small reception at the end of the walk, were the parents of 23-year-old heart donor, Michael Bovill, John and Jilayne Bovill, of Califon, New Jersey.  Their son, who died in a motorcycle crash last year, donated six of his organs so others could live and lead healthy lives.

Roxanne is striving to promote organ donor awareness so others can benefit as she did.   Currently, there are close to 116,000 people in the United States on national organ waiting lists.

In particular, Roxanne is working with organ donations groups as well as community organizations to raise awareness about the need for blacks and Latinos to sign up to be organ donors.  In response to her efforts, over 100 people have signed organ donation cards.