The 22nd annual Donor Dash 5K Run for Life hosted by Donor Alliance, returns to Denver’s Washington Park on Saturday, July 17 for an interactive event and packet pick-up followed by the virtual 5K on Sunday, July 18th.
The Donor Dash attracts thousands of participants of all ages from across the nation to honor the lives of organ, eye and tissue donors; celebrate the lives of organ, eye and tissue recipients; and recognize those who continue to wait for a lifesaving transplant. With historic participation surpassing 5,000 participants, public health officials advise encouraging smaller local and team gatherings to prioritize the safety and health of the donation and transplantation community.
“The Donor Dash means so much to our donor families, recipients, community, and those who are waiting for a life-saving transplant and it was a difficult decision to hold the race virtually again this year,” said Jennifer Prinz, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “However, the donation and transplantation community includes many people with specialized healthcare needs, and we have a responsibility to put the health and safety of our staff, participants and volunteers first. We hope to see many familiar faces at the interactive event in Washington Park the day before the virtual race. We certainly look forward to gathering together in full capacity once again next year.”
Ahead of this year’s race, a select group of Coloradans are sharing their unique stories and how they’ve been touched by donation. Transplant recipients and family members of deceased donors from across the state inspiring others to sign up to become donors, include:
- Melody Connett, mother of a donor, Englewood: Melody lost her daughter Jill in May 2003. The Donor Dash is one of the many ways Melody pays tribute to Jill with 2021 marking the 17th year Melody will have walked the race with her team, Jill’s Fighting Snappers. Remarkably, Melody even met her daughter’s liver recipient at the Donor Dash after seeing Jill’s photo on another racer’s t-shirt. Melody shares her story to help raise awareness in hopes that fewer families will have to grieve the loss of loved ones.
- Tracy Sanders, mother of a donor, Windsor: At just seven years old, Tracy’s son Collin passed away following a car accident in 2002. Collin’s gifts of life saved the lives of three people. After meeting some of Collin’s recipients, Tracy has seen the profound impact her son was able to have on the lives of others. She tells her family’s story to inspire people who are considering helping others through donation and transplantation.
- Tony Young, heart and kidney recipient, Parker: Tony’s life was saved when he received a heart and kidney transplant in March 2020. He’s once again found joy in being able to do the simple things that are easily taken for granted. He’s joining his first Donor Dash and sharing his story because of the hope one family gave him by turning the pain of losing a loved one into an opportunity to save lives.
At a reduced cost of $20 for adults and $15 for youth and seniors, participants can register for the Donor Dash by forming a team or registering as individuals. Online registration for the event is open until Thursday, July 15 for individuals.
Donor Alliance invites everyone to join the in-person Donor Dash event on Saturday, even those that selected the shipping option for packet pick-up. While shipped packets will still be mailed and will not be at the event, participants can join in on some familiar Donor Dash activities including the Memorial Garden, Wall of Honor and the children’s area. After the virtual run/walk on Sunday July 18, participants can also tune into the virtual program beginning at 10:30 a.m. on the Donor Alliance YouTube Channel Donate Life Colorado Facebook page or on the Donor Dash Page.
More information on how to register or volunteer for the 2021 Donor Dash 5K can be found on the Donor Dash event page. For more information about organ, eye and tissue donation, please visit DonorAlliance.org. To register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, please visit DonateLifeColorado.org, or call 303-329-4747 for more information.