On Saturday, December 2, 2023, hundreds of people gathered at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, Arizona, to participate in the 4th Annual Donor Dash, a 10K, 5K, and 1K Family Fun Run event organized by Transplant Community Alliance (TCA). The event was dedicated to honoring and celebrating the heroes who gave the gift of life through organ donation and raising awareness of the importance of being an organ donor.

The event was a huge success, with more than 400 runners and walkers of all ages and abilities joining the fun. The participants enjoyed a scenic course along the lake, a vendor fair, and a silent auction with amazing items donated by businesses and organizations. The event also featured a Hero Button station, where participants could make or pick up a button to honor their hero in their transplant journey, whether it was their donor, caregiver, family member, surgeon, social worker, or friend.

The event raised more than $45,000 for Transplant Community Alliance’s programs, surpassing the previous year’s total. This was made possible by the generous support of the sponsors, donors, volunteers, community partners and participants who contributed to the event. We would like to thank the following sponsors for their invaluable support:

  • Banner Transplant Centers of Phoenix and Tucson- presenting sponsor.
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Dignity Health
  • Donor Network of Arizona
  • Tortoise & Hare Sports

We had 27 teams register this year.  The teams are the backbone to the event.  Not only do they do most of the fundraising, but also encourage participants to come out to walk and run at the event. Here are a few of our top Teams…

Jenna’s Groupies, led by Jim Cooper one of TCA’s Thursday night Support Group members and a kidney recipient, was the top fundraising team again this year with 33 team members and  raising more than $11,000.  Jim named the group Jenna’s Groupies to recognize the support and camaraderie created through Jenna Rosenberg, LMSW at Mayo Clinic.  She leads the Liver Support Group at Mayo who are a tight group who love to have fun and enjoy supporting one another.   

For the third year, Team Sean, showed their love for Sean who received a double lung transplant and was blessed with 2 additional years of life. The team came out and showed their support by honoring his memory during the run and with a table that showcased what an amazing young man he was through photographs and memorabilia. 

Team I’m a Liver Not a Hater, was led by Kent Klein who received a new liver recently on Oct 21, 2023, after being sick for nearly 5 years to the day. He and his family walked the 1K to celebrate his new health and his new gift of life. Congratulations Kent!  

Team Peg’s Walking Wonders led by Peg Ollinger: Peg is going through the transplant process. She states, “it is extremely challenging, physically, mentally and financially.  I am very fortunate to have the support of family & friends to help through the process.” Her team helped raise much needed funds for TCA’s living assistance fund. Thank you Peg for being a support to others when you are in the midst of your journey. 

This is just a sampling of the amazing people and Teams that showed their spirit and enthusiasm for the cause and inspired others to join them. You have shown your support and appreciation for the transplant community, and honored the heroes who gave the gift of life through organ donation. You have also raised awareness of the importance of being an organ donor. You should be proud of yourselves for your achievements and generosity. You are the true champions of the Donor Dash!

Finally, TCA would like to thank all the volunteers and community partners who came out and joined us for an amazing day with a big turnout in attendance. Without their hard work and dedication, the event would not have been possible. We are grateful for their support and collaboration.

The 4th Annual Donor Dash was a memorable and meaningful event that brought together the transplant community and celebrated the gift of life. The Donor Dash is TCA’s biggest fundraiser and provides crucial funding for the programs they provide to transplants recipients all year long. We hope to see everyone again next year for the 5th Annual Donor Dash and continue the tradition of celebrating life and honoring heroes.

Donor Dash supports TCA’s Living Assistance Fund, which provides financial assistance to transplant recipients and their families for housing, transportation, prescriptions, and out-of-pocket co-pays. TCA also offers support groups, transplant mentors, online courses, and much more to help transplant recipients cope with the challenges and opportunities of their new life.

We are looking forward to next year for the 5th Annual Donor Dash – Save the Date – Saturday, Dec. 7, 2024. 


For more information about TCA and how to get involved, please visit www.transplantaz.org or contact Tila Achuff at tila@transplantaz.org.