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Transplant Patient Uses 'Donor Dash' To Encourage Organ Donations

NORTHGLENN (CBS4) - Thousands of people will gather this Sunday in Washington Park for the annual "Donor Dash." Among them will be a man from Northglenn who is nearly 2 years out from a liver transplant.

CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh met Scott Pinkney Tuesday on his birthday and found he has a lot to celebrate. But both Pinkney and his transplant doctor will be focused this weekend on trying to help others by spreading the word about organ and tissue donation.

The University of Colorado Hospital has a bell on the transplant floor that's called "Betty's Bell." Pinkney, when he was hospitalized, rang it for his donor, to celebrate survival, and to encourage others.

"It's put up there in memory of a patient that fought a good fight and lost the battle," Pinkney said.

So far Pinkney has been winning. For years hepatitis C was destroying his liver.

"This guy was so sick when he came to see us for a transplant we even had some hesitation as to whether he could survive the transplant because he was so sick," Dr. Igal Kam said.

He was on a waiting list for 2 years. Finally, in Aug. 2011, Pinkney got a new liver.

"I never knew the person who's the reason why I'm here today, and you know if it wasn't for them registering as a donor I wouldn't be here," Pinkney said.

In honor of all donors Pinkney will walk in Sunday's Donor Dash. Kam will join him. Kam revived the transplant program at the CU Hospital 25 years ago. His team has performed thousands of procedures.

"You know as skillful as we are without having the donors we can sit and do nothing," Kam said.

Sunday's walk will be a plea for help for the more than 115,000 awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant, and it will be a celebration for the lucky ones who received a transplant.

The 14th annual Donor Dash starts at 8 a.m.

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