DENVER, July 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The 16th Annual Donor Dash 5K hosted by Donor Alliance, the federally designated nonprofit that facilitates organ and tissue donation in Colorado and most of Wyoming, will take place on July 19 in Washington Park.
The Donor Dash is a 5K run/walk to honor the lives of organ and tissue donors, celebrate the lives of organ and tissue recipients and recognize those who continue to wait for a lifesaving transplant. Last year's event was the biggest yet with more than 5,000 participants. A similar turnout is expected this year. Nearly 200 teams will be formed to honor and celebrate those individuals who have been impacted by organ, eye and tissue donation, or participants can take part as individuals.
Following this year's race, a group of Coloradans touched by donation (transplant recipients, family members of deceased donors and living donors) will briefly share their unique stories of hope with the crowd. These individuals will be coming from all over Colorado and include:
- Howard Cox, Del Norte: Howard was only five-years-old when he was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes, which led to chronic kidney disease that required kidney and pancreas transplants. Post-transplants, he is now diabetes-free for the first time in 52 years and climbs and skis summits in honor of his donor.
- Molly Halpin, Lakewood: Molly's friend Kevin, who she considered a brother, saved four lives through his organ donations after his death. She has found solace in knowing that in death Kevin gave life to others in need.
- Danielle Wolfe, Thornton: Danielle's brother was a registered donor when a motorcycle accident left him with a traumatic brain injury. Danielle, an ICU nurse, helped lead her family through a series of complex medical decisions and knew her brother's decision to be a donor was the right one.
- Jose Amezola Beltran, Superior: Two years ago, Jose donated his left kidney to a woman he had never met. Jose has become very passionate about organ donation and wants to educate others about how they too can give this great gift.
- Ceth Collins, Littleton: Ceth received a bone graft transplant from a tissue donor last year after having a tumor removed from his leg. Since then, the 14-year-old has been able to return to his active lifestyle and even completed basic training for the Civil Air Patrol.
- Lisa Vallejos, Denver: Lisa knew her now 8-year-old son Gabriel would need a heart transplant immediately following his birth to survive. Gabriel received his new heart just thirteen days after coming into the world.
- Carol McCallister, Colorado Springs: Carol's son Matthew was 22-years-old when he fell victim to a trailer fire, leaving him with fatal injuries from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning. Matthew's selfless decision to be an organ donor enabled him to donate his heart, liver and kidneys after death, saving the lives of four people.
- Linda Seavey, Evergreen: In 2010, Linda's life was suddenly at risk after she was diagnosed with acute liver failure. Just two months later she was the lucky recipient of a new liver from a 10-year-old boy whose parents said "yes" to giving the precious gift of life.
"We are so excited to be celebrating our sixteenth year of this wonderful event and are thrilled to be joined by so many special people from across our area who have been touched by donation," said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. "To have this many advocates for donation in the same place at the same time makes it an emotional event but one that looks forward to a future of a shorter wait for lifesaving transplants."
Onsite event registration will begin at 7 a.m. and the race will begin 8 a.m. A Diaper Dash for children 3-years-old and under with be held at 9:15 a.m. in the expo area. Also in the expo area, participants can get more information about donation and transplantation, browse different exhibitors and enjoy a children's play area. The day will wrap up with a symbolic balloon release at 10 a.m. to honor those who have made the gift of life possible with their generous donations.
Joining the Donor Dash again 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 sign autographs, pose for pictures and meet with attendees in the expo area from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.
More information about how to register or volunteer and maps for the event can be found at www.DonorAlliance.org/DonorDash.
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, or call 303-329-4747 for more information.
About Donor Alliance
Donor Alliance is a nonprofit dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. As the organ procurement organization and accredited tissue bank for Colorado and most of Wyoming, Donor Alliance serves more than 5.8 million residents and more than 100 hospitals. The organization adheres to medical, regulatory and ethical standards: respectfully working with the families of organ and tissue donors, maintaining partnerships with hospitals, educating residents on the life-saving benefits of donation and inspiring them to sign up on the state's donor registry. Colorado and Wyoming boast some of the highest rates of donor registration in the country, which directly translates to more lives saved through organ and tissue transplantation.
Donor Alliance is one of 58 federally designated organizations of its kind in the United States, and is also an American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) accredited tissue bank. For more information, please visit DonorAlliance.org or the Donate Life Colorado or Donate Life Wyoming Facebook pages.
SOURCE Donor Alliance