Mooers Walk raises $800 for organ donors

HOULTON, Maine — A cold, windy morning Saturday resulted in a smaller turnout than in previous years for the fourth annual Hannah Mooers 5K walk/run, but it did not deter those who did come out from showing their support. 

About 75 people braved the elements for this year’s event, with the majority of those in attendance opting to walk instead of run. According to Tammy Farwell, one of the event organizers, the walk raised about $800 for the New England Donor Bank.

“To have all these people turn out for the walk is such a huge comfort for the family,” Farwell said. “The family feels this (walk) helps keep Hannah’s memory alive not just for them, but for others as well.”

Mooers would have been 23-years-old this year and as people turned out for the walk, fond memories and funny stories of Hannah were plentiful, but so too were the painful ones for her family.

From birth, Hannah suffered from a heart disease known as truncus arteriosus type 4, along with several other complications, according to her family. She underwent three open heart surgeries beginning when she was five weeks old. Her second was when she was 5 and her last one at 11 years of age.

At the age of 16, Hannah was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which complicated her condition even more. Mooers persevered and finished out her high school career. She graduated from Houlton High School in 2013 and had plans to attend college, but her health held her back.

Hannah also was involved in a number of causes, including the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, the Houlton Humane Society, the Ark Animal Sanctuary and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

When she died in February 2015 at the age of 19, a number of Hannah’s organs were donated to the New England Donor Bank.

Susan Chaar, hospital relations coordinator for central and northern Maine for the New England Donors Services, said Saturday’s walk in Houlton was an important for raising both money and awareness for organ donations.

“Maine has a very high registration rate (for organ donors) compared to other states at about 54 percent,” Chaar said. “But the unfortunate thing is most people don’t realize only 1-2 percent of the population dies under the circumstances to become an organ donor.”

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