23rd Annual Donor Dash 5K Returns to Washington Park to Celebrate the Gift of Life

Thousands of Coloradans gather to honor and celebrate organ, eye and tissue donors, candidates, recipients and their families

The 23nd 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, 2022 at 8 a.m. After a pause on in-person events that began in 2019, the run/walk is back to full capacity with participants of all ages from across the nation coming together to honor the lives of organ, eye and tissue donors, celebrate the lives of transplant recipients and recognize those that continue to wait for a lifesaving transplant.

“We are absolutely thrilled to return to an in-person event this year and be able to see participants from across the region gather together to celebrate the lives saved through donation while honoring those who gave the gift of life,” said Jennifer Prinz, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “The Donor Dash is such a powerful event that means so much to the community. We’re looking forward to continuing to inspire and educate even more residents about the miracle of organ and tissue donation and transplantation.”

Following this year’s race, Coloradans are briefly sharing their unique stories on how they have been touched by donation during a post-race inspirational ceremony. Transplant recipients and family members of deceased donors inspiring others to sign up to become donors, include:

  • Mary Parker, wife of a donor and tissue recipient: Mary’s husband, Eric, had passed, and had given the gift of life through organ and tissue donation. Six months later, in 2020, Mary learned that she needed a third knee surgery. Through a twist of fate, surgeons were able to use her husband’s tissue. Now, Mary has that powerful connection with Eric forever. Mary is dashing for the first time since recovering from her knee replacement for her late husband, Eric.
  • Eamon Lujan, heart recipient: Born with an underdeveloped heart, Eamon was immediately placed on the transplant list at birth. After a three-month wait, Eamon received a lifesaving transplant. At 17 years old, Eamon continues to live their life every day with an incredible depth of gratitude and works to inspire more people to sign up as donors.
  • Julie Spear, mother of a donor: Julie lost her son Evan in a tragic accident when he was 19 years old. She is proud of her son’s legacy and his decision to become an organ, eye and tissue donor. Julie has participated in the Donor Dash for many years and has one of the biggest teams at the event each year.
  • Melissa Flaherty, kidney recipient: After a routine physical at just 24 years old, Melissa was told she was in renal failure. She knew from a young age that she was a carrier of Alport’s Syndrome, but now needed a kidney transplant to survive. Melissa was fortunate to have a long list of family and friends that were ready and willing to be tested. Melissa will sing the National Anthem to kick off this year’s Donor Dash and honor her living donor and uncle, Fred, for giving her the gift of life.

Participants can register for the Donor Dash online or in-person. Online registration is open for individuals until Thursday, July 14. Race day registration will begin at 7 a.m., followed by the 5K run/walk at 8 a.m. 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.

Event maps and information on how to register or volunteer 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.

About Donor Alliance

Donor Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. As the organ and tissue procurement agency for Colorado and most of Wyoming, Donor Alliance serves more than 5.8 million residents and more than 100 hospitals. Donor Alliance adheres to the highest medical, regulatory and ethical standards, and meets every performance standard. By 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, Donor Alliance is able to save lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Colorado and Wyoming boast some of the highest rates of donor registration in the country, which directly translates to more lives saved and healed through organ and tissue transplantation. Donor Alliance is one of 58 federally designated organizations of its kind in the United States. For more information visit DonorAlliance.org or the Donate Life Colorado or Donate Life Wyoming Facebook pages.


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