Legacy of Life’s ‘your way’ race honors pioneering Hawaii transplant surgeon

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 4:05 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 21, 2021 at 7:45 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dr. Livingston Wong was a medical pioneer.

He started organ and bone marrow transplants in Hawaii, and founded the Organ Donor Center of Hawaii and the Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

Transplant surgeon Linda Wong says her father accomplished a lot.

“He also worked a lot with the emergency medical service, and he actually brought 911 to the state of Hawaii, too,” she said.

Wong died last October at 90 years old.

Next week, Legacy of Life Hawaii will honor him with a virtual event called the Dr. Livingston Wong Memorial 5K Your Way.

“He would want to see people out there exercising and taking care of themselves,” Legacy of Life marketing director Nancy Downes said.

The 5K follows the same format as last year’s Iron Butterfly 5K that drew 264 racers who ran, walked, swam or paddled their way to the finish line of their choosing.

“That’s why we call it 5K your way,” Downes said.

The race starts Sunday, but you don’t have to do it all at once ― as long as you complete the distance by Oct. 30. Downes said the event also raises awareness that more people are needed to register as organ donors.

In Hawaii, 364 adults are waiting for a kidney, pancreas or liver transplant.

“We are trying to encourage everyone to check the box when they are at the DMV renewing their license or their state ID, or just go on line to to register to be an organ donor,” Downes said.

Livingston Wong was an advocate for organ donation and he had a goal.

“I think he wanted to make Hawaii just as good as any other state in terms of health care,” Linda Wong said. “He didn’t want Hawaii to be behind or lagging in terms of the medical technology or the treatments available for anything in medicine.”

To sign up for the Dr. Livingston Wong Memorial 5K, go to

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