Ford said she wants to help others by sharing the message that organ donation can truly save lives.
“How often do we get the opportunity to save lives? Every transplant is a miracle,” said Ford.
Lenore's husband, Bill Ford, founder of Ford Financial Group, based in East Hanover, was very healthy until a rare disorder caused his liver to fail. He became very sick in the early 1990s and eventually received an organ transplant, but his health had deteriorated by the time the organ was available. The transplant was not successful. A second transplant was successful, but Bill’s immune system was so compromised he passed away a few weeks later in 1994.
Despite her husband’s death, Ford remains grateful for the two donors whose generosity gave her husband the transplants, and she remains committed to the mission of increasing organ and tissue donation.
The couple had been married for 33 years when Bill Ford died. Since then, Lenore has been involved with organ donation awareness at Overlook Medical Center in Summit. She also has been a volunteer for NJ Sharing Network and now is a member of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation Board, the philanthropic arm of NJ Sharing Network, the non-profit organization responsible for recovering organs and tissue for patients in New Jersey who are desperately awaiting a life-saving transplant.
“When I started volunteering at NJ Sharing Network 42,000 people in the US were waiting for organs. Today the figure is 120,000,” Ford said. “Eighteen people each day die waiting for an organ. Anything I can do to help is a joy for me. It is an honor to help spread awareness.”
Ford will co-chair NJ Sharing Network’s 15th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic October 7 at the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, which will be home to the 2016 PGA Championship.
Funds raised from the annual golf and tennis classic support the NJ Sharing Network Foundation and NJ Sharing Network’s mission to save and enhance lives through organ and tissue donation. More than 5,000 people in New Jersey are waiting for an organ transplant.
“One organ donor can save up to eight lives and tissue from a single donor can enhance the lives of up to 50 people,” said Elisse Glennon, executive director of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation. “Our golf and tennis classic helps raise funds to support the life-saving work of NJ Sharing Network and public awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation.”
According to Glennon, Ford was instrumental in helping bring the golf and tennis classic to Baltusrol.
"The once-in-a-life chance to play one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the country will help make this our best golf and tennis classic ever," Glennon said.
Baltusrol, which dates back to 1895, has hosted seven US Opens and one PGA Championship.
Tennis matches will take place at the nearby Centercourt Athletic Club in Chatham. Shuttles for tennis will be provided.
Space to play in NJ Sharing Network’s 15th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic is limited and filling up quickly. Remaining space will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis. For additional information about participation or sponsorships, please contact Jackie Lue Raia at 908-516-5686.
To learn more about organ and tissue donation or to get involved with NJ Sharing Network call 1-800-742-7365 or visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org to register as an organ and tissue donor.