NEW YORK (CBS Newspath) — The New York City Marathon is on Sunday (11/7), marking the race’s 50th year. Among the 33,000 runners will be Sara Kate Gillingham and Dave Kane, two friends with an uncommon bond.
This is a celebration of life for Gillingham and Kane. “It’s really nice to be able to sit here and smile and laugh about it. But it was a very dark time,” says Gillingham. That dark time dates back more than four years ago when Kane was fighting for his life. “The diagnosis was pretty grim,” he says. Doctors found cancer in the bile ducts of his liver. He needed a transplant. When word spread on Facebook, his friend Gillingham stepped up. “I don’t know, I just felt a calling. I felt like I am in a really good position to do this,” she says.
Doctors removed 60% of Gillingham’s liver and transplanted it to Kane.
“Sara Kate saved my life,” Kane says. “That’s what’s so great about this opportunity to run and to publicize, you know, the incredible bravery and generosity and love of Sara Kate and the opportunity to be a donor.”
On Sunday, the pair will celebrate their recovery by running the New York City Marathon. Their race will raise money for the American Liver Foundation, and they hope it will raise awareness about organ donation.
When asked if there was one thing she would want the public to know about being a living donor, Gillingham said, “I guess it’s that it’s totally possible to make a bigger impact on the world than you think is possible by doing this. Digging deep in yourself to give something that is very scary.”
Gillingham now coaches other donors through the experience and says in saving Kane’s life, she added meaning to her own.
Gillingham and Kane first began planning last year, but the 2020 NYC Marathon was canceled because of the pandemic.