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Give 'gift of life'

Posted: March 27, 2009 1:23 a.m.
Updated: March 27, 2009 9:00 a.m.
 
As a former professional baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays, Dan Trujillo of Saugus was used to striking out once in a while. He didn't expect to get struck down with a heart problem in the prime of his life.

At 26, Trujillo was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and so began a series of operations, culminating with a heart transplant on Nov. 13, 2007. The donor was a 17-year-old boy killed in a car accident.

"The gift of life is something I'm always grateful for, especially when I look at my three kids," Trujillo said. "He saved four people with just one gift."

Trujillo, a motivational speaker and founder of the Clay Heart Company, is one of a group of volunteers who will answer questions, offer information and sign up organ and tissue donors at Salt Creek Grille this Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The Westfield Valencia Town Center restaurant is hosting the event in conjunction with One Legacy, a nonprofit, federally designated transplant-donor network serving 18 million people in seven Southern California counties.

"This is about awareness and letting people know how important it is to become a donor and how easy it is to sign up," said Greg Amsler, proprietor of Salt Creek Grill.

A portion of Sunday's food sales will benefit Donate Life of California, said Amsler.

Nationwide, more than 100,000 men, women and children await the gift of a live-saving transplant; up to 25 percent of those waiting live in California.

"On a community level, people don't know how much transplants affect lives," Trujillo said. "I'll be manning that table on Sunday because of people like the family that saved my life by putting a pink dot on a driver's license."

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