The 17th annual Donor Dash 5K hosted by Donor Alliance, the federally designated non-profit organization that facilitates organ and tissue donation in Colorado and most of Wyoming, returns to Denver’s Washington Park on Sunday, July 17, 2016 at 8 a.m.
The Donor Dash 5K, Colorado’s largest donation event, brings Coloradans of all ages together 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. Donor Alliance is aiming to top the success from last year’s event, which saw more than 4,600 participants.
Also joining the Donor Dash this year is Eric Studesville, a coach for the Denver Broncos, who is a spokesperson for organ, eye and tissue donation. A passionate advocate for the cause, Eric was touched by donation when his mother gave the gift of life to a close family-friend as a living kidney donor. While Eric realizes that not everyone can be a living donor, he hopes to inspire and encourage all residents to register to become an organ, eye and tissue donor at the time of their death. Eric will sign autographs, pose for pictures and meet with attendees in the expo area from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
“It is our mission to save lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation, which makes it both humbling and gratifying to join our community each year to celebrate the lives saved through donation while honoring those who gave the gift of life,” said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “As we enter our 17th year, we continue to be amazed by the vast number of participants from across the region that have been touched by donation and in turn are inspiring other Coloradans to say ‘yes’ to organ, eye and tissue donation.”
On-site event registration will begin at 7 a.m. and the race will begin at 8 a.m. Run/walk participants can form teams or register as individuals. A Diaper Dash for children 3-years-old and under will be held at 9:15 a.m. After the race, participants may visit the expo area to get more information about donation and transplantation, browse exhibitors and enjoy a children’s play area.
In addition to a symbolic balloon release to honor those who have made the gift of life possible with their generous donations, the event will include a select group of Coloradans briefly sharing their unique stories about how they have been touched by donation. Transplant recipients and family members of deceased and living donors have come from across the state to speak to participants, and include:
- Carl Miller, heart recipient, Lakewood: After suffering a major heart attack in 2000, Carl received a lifesaving heart transplant. Carl is forever grateful to his donor for giving him a future and allowing him to spend time with his wife and be able to see his two kids grow up and begin successful professional and personal lives.
- Jim Eastman, transplant candidate, donor brother, Longmont: Jim is the brother of an organ, eye and tissue donor and is also waiting for a lifesaving transplant. Jim has been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease and is currently on the waiting list to receive a kidney. Jim hopes to one day be healthy enough to conquer all of Colorado’s 14ers and meet and hold his great grandchildren.
- Judy Walker, tissue recipient, Colorado Springs: At 39, Judy was diagnosed with bone cancer. In 2009, she received a femur transplant from a tissue donor. While she continues to fight cancer, she is grateful for the generous gift from her donor, without which she would have had to face the amputation of her leg and a dramatically different life.
- Sandra Chavez, donor mother, Denver: Sandra’s son, Leonard passed away in 2014 and became an organ, eye and tissue donor. Before he passed, Leonard discussed with his family his desire to be an organ, eye and tissue donor to help someone else when he no longer needed them. Sandra is very proud of her son and knows how happy he would be to know that he gave numerous people the gift of life.
Event maps and information on how to register or volunteer for the 2016 Donor Dash 5K can be found at DonorAlliance.org/DonorDash.