Tournament spotlights organ donor program

Posted at: 11/10/2012 4:57 PM
Updated at: 11/10/2012 6:48 PM
By: Staff

A karate tournament is hoping to kick up support for organ donation. Martial artists from across the state took part in the Fight for Life Martial Arts Championship at Sandia Preparatory School.

Sensei Randy Sanders - a 5th degree black belt - sponsored the event. He received a tissue transplant in his knee allowing him to teach karate again.

The tournament was his way of giving back, and helping others in need of organ, tissue and eye donations.

The family of organ donor Ray Lobato was honored Saturday.

In 2009, Lobato was at his daughter's karate tournament when he suffered an aneurysm. And because Lobato was a registered donor he saved the lives of several people.

"It's a big honor because it was a big part of my brother's life and my niece's life," Ray's borther Joe Lobato said. "Mixed emotions naturally because my brother lost his life but nice because he was able to give the gift of life to someone else."

The tournament benefits New Mexico's Organ Transplant Awareness program. The money raised will go to a high school scholarship essay contest.

750 New Mexicans are currently waiting for an organ transplant.