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Bel Air resident Gene Cassidy, a former Baltimore cop who lost his sight after being shot, leading virtual 5K to support organ donation

Bel Air resident Gene Cassidy is a 60-year old former Baltimore City police officer, who 25 years ago, while attempting to serve an arrest warrant, was shot twice in the head.

Though he lost his sight, Cassidy survived the near-death event.

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As a result of the injuries, Cassidy also dealt with several blood transfusions. So, in 2011, Cassidy was faced with another health crisis — end-stage cirrhosis of the liver caused by hepatitis C, which he contracted from the blood transfusions those many years prior.

In June 2012, Cassidy’s life was saved once again after receiving a full liver transplant at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

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Since then, he and his family have become passionate supporters of the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, the state’s organ procurement organization in charge of coordination, advocacy, family support and public and professional education for organ, eye and tissue donation, and its mission to help save as many lives as possible throughout Maryland.

Each year, Cassidy and his wife are joined by family and friends at the annual Donate Life Family Fun Run, where they participate as team The F.O.G. (Friends of Gene). This year, despite social distancing restrictions, they have remained steadfast in their commitment, maintaining over 100 team members to participate virtually from all across the state.

Now in its 12th year, the 2020 Donate Life Family Fun Run (1K or 5K walk/run) celebrates donation and transplantation and honors the many donors and families who make it all possible. This year’s free virtual program kicks off online via Facebook and YouTube at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, and will continue with live updates, shout outs and giveaways through Monday.

There are about 3,000 Marylanders waiting for a life-saving transplant, according to the LLF. By registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor, one person has the potential to save eight lives through organ donation and enhance over 75 lives through tissue donation.

For more information, to view the full weekend schedule or to register for free, go to donatelifefunrun.org. For questions, contact the LLF at familyfunrun@thellf.org or 410-242-7000.

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