WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Dale Folwell’s attempt to break a world motorcycle endurance record on his Honda Gold Wing by riding 32,000 miles in 30 days touching all 48 contiguous states will test his endurance, but Folwell says it hardly compares with the courage, patience and hope of the 90,000 Americans currently on organ transplantation waiting lists.
Folwell’s ride is the kickoff to a fundraising initiative to benefit the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a national leader in research on tissue and organ regeneration. The institute reported earlier this year successful transplantation of the first laboratory-grown human bladders.
The institute is one of the world’s largest facilities dedicated to regenerative medicine, the science of replacing, repairing or regenerating organs or tissue. It currently has research under way on 20 different tissues and organs with a focus on using a patient’s own cells to avoid problems with rejection of the organs or tissue.
Folwell’s ride is inspired by the memory of his late son, Dalton, who was a full organ donor after his death at age 7 in a traffic accident in 1999.
“My wife, Synthia, and I are honoring Dalton’s spirit of generosity by helping others in their quest to lead full and healthy lives,” said Folwell. “We are excited to have the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in our hometown and believe the work being done there represents a commitment to the hope of patients needing new tissues and organs. New knowledge can bring them better health.
“For now, everyone can do something to help, from donating blood to registering as an organ donor,” added Folwell. “And if you make a donation to this ride, you share the goal that, through medical science, someday we will live in a world where we may not have to rely on donated organs to save someone’s life.”
There are currently more than 90,000 Americans on organ transplantation waiting lists. Annually, only about 25,000 to 30,000 receive a life-giving organ through donation.
Anthony Atala, M.D., director of the institute, is the recipient of the Christopher Columbus Foundation Award, presented to a living American working on a discovery that may significantly affect society. In 2003, he was named by Scientific American as a Medical Treatments Leader of the Year. Ten technologies developed by the institute have been applied clinically.
Folwell’s ride begins at 6:30 a.m., Friday, Sept. 1, from Honda Winston-Salem, 591 S. Stratford Road, Winston-Salem, N.C.
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About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,187 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.