In his 66 years, Steve Ben’Ary was known for many things: being an English teacher at Plainfield High School, an assistant basketball coach at Pingry High School and a volunteer at both the Red Cross and Runnells Specialized Hospital in Berkeley Heights.
And to those friends and family who knew his spirit, they knew he remained humbled by the most important gift that he was ever given: a kidney. It is with this donated organ he received in 1999 that Ben’Ary was able to live long enough to see his son, Michael, graduate from college and law school, get married and give him the blessing of two grandchildren, Grace and Owen.
On Sunday, June 8, an estimated 30 friends and family will gather once again to remember Ben’Ary, who died in February 2012. They will call themselves “Team Stevie B,” and will be participating in NJ Sharing Network’s Fourth-Annual 5K Walk and USATF-Certified Race in New Providence.
“We are committed to NJ Sharing Network, and appreciate this opportunity to help keep my husband’s memory alive,” said Adele Ben’Ary, who was married to Ben’Ary for more than 40 years. “He was on dialysis for more than five years before he received the kidney and had plenty of surgeries. But he was such a positive thinking person; he loved life and that is why we always say that others should register to donate life.”
Ben’Ary said the goal of Team Stevie B is to spread the importance of organ and tissue donation through the Watchung community, while also raising money for a very important charity. In addition, the event is a wonderful way for other donor families and recipients, as well as those currently waiting for a life-saving transplant, to celebrate the magic of organ and tissue donation.
“People’s reaction to the race last year was so positive; they were pumped and talking about it for months and months,” she said. “Our team members couldn’t wait to sign up this year. They know how important this day is to our family and for the many others who received the tremendous generosity of a donated organ.”
To sign up for NJ Sharing Network’s 5K Walk & USATF-Certified Race, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org or call 1-800-742-7365.
About NJ Sharing Network
NJ Sharing Network is a non-profit, federally designated organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue for New Jersey residents in need of life-saving transplants. NJ Sharing Network partners with Donate Life America, a not-for-profit national alliance that drives communities to increase their numbers of registered donors. NJ Sharing Network honors those who gave, pays tribute to those who received, offers hope to those who continue to wait, and remembers the lives lost while waiting…for the gift of life.