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Athletes for Donation Get "Dottie"

Team Destination DonationA Dot Nation. That is what Destination Donation, a team of multi-sport athletes who support organ donation, is trying to build.

In 2011, businessman Alan Petelinsek met a man whose son had passed away and had donated his organs to the benefit of many people. At the time, Alan was training for a triathlon and was so moved by this generous act that he dedicated his training to benefit organ donation.

At the same time, Rob Verhelst, a fireman, EMT and organ donation volunteer, was training for the Madison Ironman, but with a challenging twist. Rob had decided he would complete the marathon run wearing 50 pounds of firefighter gear. The two athletes met and decided to join forces to create Destination Donation to raise awareness for the ongoing need for individuals to register as organ, tissue and eye donors.

"The goal of Destination Donation is to encourage people to live beyond themselves through the gift of life by registering as a donor and supporting organ tissue and eye donation," said Alan.

Alan and Rob planted the seed to start Destination Donation, but wondered how to encourage people to help expand their work. The answer was simple: people can just go online to destinationdonation.org and become a member of the team. Anyone is welcome to join and you don't have to be an athlete, just someone who cares about organ donation.

To help get the message out in a visual way, members can purchase orange dot team wear. The gear includes athletic shirts, running singlets, hats, t-shirts, triathlon tops and bicycle jerseys. The items are extremely high quality, and look very nice on all body types. Destination Donation does not make any money from the sales of the jerseys, but gets the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping build the organ donation registry.

Several times throughout the year, team members will be notified of upcoming training opportunities or events in which members could participate. Currently most of the events the team is participating in take place in southern Wisconsin, but as the team grows, members can organize events in other areas.

Whether you are training for Ironman, or just walking around your neighborhood, you can join Destination Donation and help them spread this life-saving message.