Donor Dash 5K will celebrate 17 years of raising awareness of those in need of transplants

The Dash exists, in part, to recognize the 2,623 people in Colorado and Wyoming still awaiting transplants.

CHLOE
Donor Dash returns for the 17th year this Sunday. (Evan Sem—n/Courtesy of Donor Alliance)

Donor Dash returns for the 17th year this Sunday. (Evan Sem—n/Courtesy of Donor Alliance)

The Donor Alliance is celebrating its 17th annual Donor Dash this Sunday at Washington Park.

Last year, the 5K attracted 4,600 participants, but Donor Alliance expects a much higher participation rate this year. As of Tuesday morning, over 4,800 donors, organ recipients and sympathizers had already signed up.

“The goal is to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation and also to celebrate life,” said  Andrea Smith, a spokesperson for Donor Alliance. “The primary objective is to get people to register as donors and to get them to talk to their families about donation.”

The Dash also exists, in part, to recognize the 2,623 people in Colorado and Wyoming still awaiting transplants.

According to statistics provided by Donor Alliance, the non-profit organ donation procurement organization representing Colorado and Wyoming, Colorado is a very donor-friendly state—one of the highest in the country. In Colorado, 68 percent of those with registered drivers’ licenses or ID cards bear their donor heart proudly and of last year’s 4,600 participants, 3,298 were registered donors and 161 had received an organ transplant.

Despite the high level of participation, there still are not enough donors to fill the need. Kidneys are highest organs in demand, with 1,939 transplant candidates on the waiting list, followed by 627 candidates awaiting livers.

Donor Alliance is a “donor after death” organization so Smith emphasized the importance of education and family support for those deciding to register as a donor. “You are making the decision yourself which is why you want to make sure your loved ones know,” she said. “It really makes things easier on loved ones at a very difficult time cuz they know exactly what someone wanted.

Register for Donor Dash 2016 at https://www.donoralliance.org/programs/donor-dash/. Individual registration closes this Friday, July 15, at midnight.

To register as a donor, visit www.donatelifecolorado.org.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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