Double lung transplant recipient Andrew Brownell (left), with his sister, Anna Brownell, in the hospital in July after Andrew’s motorcycle accident. -Image: Contributed

Transplant recipient to run Okanagan Half

With new lungs, Andrew Brownell will be joined by his sister, Anna, for Sunday’s run in Kelowna

Seven members of Team “Special Addition” will be running this weekend’s BMO Okanagan Marathon’s Half Marathon for lung transplant recipient Andrew Brownell.

Andrew was given the green light to train and run as part of his post surgery recovery plan. His twin sister, Anna Jones, committed to training with him in January after he spearheaded the idea of raising money for the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation.

Their plan to run together was in place until Andrew was seriously injured in a summer motorcycle accident. Picking up where Andrew left off, Anna is more determined to stay the course and has continued to train, enabling her to lose 50 pounds and keep the team focused on their goals.

Anna says because Andrew was born with Cystic Fibrosis he’s been in and out of hospitals most of his life. Now at age 38 he’s continued to battle for his health after the accident. “He was lucky to have survived and when I asked him if we should still run the answer was yes.

“Once he set his sights on the BMO Okanagan Marathon we have not looked back. I’ve gotten a team of close family friends and some relatives together to take on the challenge.

“We know it will be emotional, as Andrew had been given the green light from the transplant team to run the half,” she added. “We even called our team ‘special addition’ because of Andrew’s double lung transplant. We really want people to know the importance of organ donation, and to make sure to get your name on the list.”

Since Andrew is temporarily wheelchair bound, the team is hoping to push him during their half marathon quest and go the distance with the backing of a whole community. Anna lives in 100 Mile House and the recent fires definitely slowed down their fundraising efforts, but they are determined to pull this off so all money raised can go directly to Thoracic Surgery.

The Thoracic Surgery program at UBC covers the full spectrum of thoracic surgical diseases including lung transplants.

For Team Special Addition, running on behalf of Andrew, this seems fitting.

The 23rd annual BMO Okanagan Marathon takes place Thanksgiving Weekend on October 7-8. The Half Marathon featuring Team Special Addition runs Sunday, beginning at 8:10am from City Park. The team expects to complete the half in about four hours.

All events take place from City Park and racers enjoy beautiful, scenic runs along Lake Okanagan. The event is a Boston Marathon qualifier, and supports The Sunshine Foundation of Canada making dream come true for children living with severe physical disabilities or life threatening illnesses.

For more information about the BMO Okanagan Marathon, please visit: okanaganmarathon.ca