Celebrating 15 Years: Thousands of Coloradans to Celebrate Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation at the Donor Dash 5K July 20 in Washington Park

July 14, 2014

Special happenings at this year’s event: liver recipient meets her donor’s family for the first time, baseball legend Vinny Castilla hosts children’s area


One of Denver’s most celebrated and attended cause-related 5Ks, the Donor Dash, is celebrating 15 years this summer. Taking place July 20 in Denver’s historic Washington Park, the Donor Dash is a run/walk to honor the lives of organ, eye and tissue donors, celebrate the lives of recipients and recognize those who continue to wait for a lifesaving transplant. Roughly 5,000 participants and 200 teams are expected, and there will be several special additions to this year’s event.

The Donor Dash is once again hosted by Donor Alliance, the federally designated, non-profit organ procurement organization serving Colorado and most of Wyoming. In a moving representation of the amazing possibilities of donation and transplantation, at this year’s event, Donor Alliance will facilitate a powerful first meeting between a liver recipient and her donor’s family.

Carmen Duran, of Lakewood, was saved by a liver transplant in 2010. She suffered from liver disease and had been on the waiting list for a transplant for nine years. Her health was deteriorating when she finally received a call that her transplant was ready. Carmen received a liver from Brianna Canacari, of Denver, who passed away at the age of 12.  Brianna’s mother, Babette, says that amidst her family’s grief, they have found hope in knowing that Brianna saved others, including Carmen. Babette and Carmen have never met, but they will do so for the first time at the Donor Dash on July 20.

“Stories like Carmen’s and the Canacari family’s truly bring to life the full-circle power of donation and transplantation. What often starts with a tragedy can end with incredible hope and new possibilities. That is the message we want to convey at the Donor Dash: just one donor has the power to save eight lives through organ donation and more than 100 lives through eye and tissue donation,” said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “We humbly honor and celebrate these and many other recipients and donor families who will be in attendance at this year’s event. Our hope is that their moving stories can serve as an inspiration to other Coloradans, and motivate them to say ‘yes’ to organ, eye and tissue donation.”

Also joining the Donor Dash for the first time this year is former baseball all-star and Blake Street Bomber Vinny Castilla, who is working as a spokesperson for organ and tissue donation. An avid advocate of the donation cause, and a registered donor himself, Vinny will host a special batting area within the event’s children’s area. Here, in a fun celebration of life, children (and their parents!) can meet Vinny, receive some one-on-one batting practice and get Vinny’s autograph.

Race day registration and packet pickup starts at 7 AM July 20, followed by the 5k run/walk at 8 AM, the Diaper Dash and Vinny Castilla baseball practice for children at 9:00 AM, recognition ceremony at 9:30 AM and the balloon release at 10:00 AM. Donor Alliance will also unveil its new ad campaign, which features real transplant recipients from around Colorado and Wyoming, as well as Vinny Castilla.

More information about how to register or volunteer and maps for the event can be found at www.DonorAlliance.org/DonorDash.

Join the nearly 68 percent of Coloradans who have registered to be organ, eye and tissue donors. For more information about organ and tissue donation, please visit DonorAlliance.org. To register to be an organ and tissue donor, please visit DonateLifeColorado.org, DonateLifeWyoming.org or call 303-329-4747 for more information.