The Intermountain Donor Service’s annual Dash For Donation is coming up on August 2. Dash for Donation is a 5K run or a 2K walk where organ and tissue donor families and recipient families can come together and celebrate.
Weber State University’s Senior Development Director, Lisa Largent Wright has a close connection to the Intermountain Donor Service. Her husband, Steve Largent, passed away 11 years ago in a tragic accident at Weber River. His organs were not deemed viable, but Largent was able to donate skin and tissue.
Wright and her family started participating in the Dash For Donation about three years after her husband died. The race takes place in August, around the time Largent was born, and the family has made it a tradition as a way to celebrate his birthday.
“It’s a fun race. It’s no pressure,” Wright said. “It’s about people getting together, both donor families and recipients.”
The race originally took place in Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City. However, the Intermountain Donor Services noticed that there were many donor and recipient families from Northern Utah, so they added a second race at Weber State University.
When a person dies, the family surviving them must make the final call on organ and tissue donation, even if they registered for donation when they were alive. Due to her husband’s donation, Wright has become a huge advocate for organ and tissue donation. Wright stresses the importance of discussing that decision with those who will ultimately decide.
“I’m really grateful that he and I had talked about it beforehand,” said Wright. “I never would have dreamed that we would actually be making a donation. It wasn’t a decision I had to make in a time that I probably would have shut down and said no.”
Alex McDonald, director of public relations at Intermountain Donor Services, tells of a baby that had a heart transplant when he was only 2 months old.
This year, 18 years later, that same baby graduated high school and is on to bigger and better things, all with that same donated heart.
“I see donor families, which is the sad part, but I get to see miracles,” said McDonald. “Knowing that others are alive because of their help provides a little bit of solace for those families.”
The funds collected from the Dash For Donation go towards educating the public about organ and tissue donation. McDonald emphasized the importance of becoming an organ donor, as around 100 people die every day waiting for organ or tissue transplants.
To register for the Dash For Donation and to become an organ or tissue donor, go to www.yesutah.org.
“We get to see all the different families that have lost loved ones, and teams made up of those that have received organs,” said Wright’s son, Matt Largent. “It’s fun because we get to see everyone running together and celebrating it.”