Organ and Tissue Donors Honored with Tree Dedications in Celebration of National Donate Life Month

Press Release from Donor Alliance

This April, in celebration of National Donate Life Month, trees will be planted across Colorado and Wyoming in memory of organ, eye and tissue donors from the region. The trees will be planted and dedicated by transplant recipients honoring their donors, and families of donors memorializing their loved ones who gave the gift of life. Donor Alliance, the federally designated nonprofit that facilitates organ and tissue donation in Colorado and most of Wyoming, and supporters of organ, eye and tissue donation have donated the trees that will be planted in communities across Colorado and Wyoming for this initiative.

“In addition to National Donate Life Month, Earth Month is also celebrated during April. Recipients are given new life by their transplants, and planting trees is a way of giving new life, too,” said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “As trees benefit our communities, so do the heroic individuals who have said ‘yes’ to being organ, eye and tissue donors. With nearly 2,700 people in our states still waiting for life-saving transplants, we hope this tree planting initiative will bring increased awareness to the need for more registered donors.”

The following Donate Life Month tree-planting and dedication ceremonies will take place throughout Colorado and Wyoming:

  • Alamosa: Nieves Higareda, a kidney recipient, will plant a tree at Carroll Park in honor of her donor at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 30, 2016.
  • Aurora: Melissa Berg, a liver transplant candidate, will plant a tree at the Medical Center of Aurora in honor of all organ, eye and tissue donors at 10:15 a.m. on Monday, April 18, 2016.
  • Colorado Springs: Eva Krynovich, a heart recipient, will plant a tree in Red Rock Canyon Open Space in honor of her donor. Kidney donor, Warren Wells, will also plant a tree in the open space to celebrate his transplant recipient, Beth Wells. Both dedication ceremonies will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, 2016.
  • Lakewood: Wes Cook, a liver recipient, and Diane Eckert, the sister of Wes’ donor, Cody Crosby, planted a tree at Saint Anthony’s Hospital. Wes planted the tree in honor of Cody on April 1.

The following Donate Life Month tree-planting and dedication ceremony will take place in Wyoming:

  • Casper: Mike Blonigen, a heart recipient, and his wife Kim, will plant a tree in Meadow Park. Mike and Kim will plant the tree in honor of his donor at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 29, 2016.

Colorado and Wyoming residents and businesses are also invited to join in on the month’s celebrations, especially on National Blue & Green Day taking place on Friday, April 15. On this day, the public is encouraged to wear blue and green in an effort to promote the success of organ, eye and tissue transplantation and the need for registered donors. That morning at 10 a.m., there will also be a banner-hanging and National Donate Life Month celebration at the Mexican Consulate in Denver. Businesses interested in supporting the cause by displaying educational materials like fliers, posters, PSAs and more can access a toolkit of ready-to-produce materials at

For more information about organ and tissue donation, please visit To register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, please visit,

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 and ethical standards: respectfully working with the families of organ and tissue donors, maintaining partnerships with hospitals and educating residents on the life-saving benefits of donation and inspiring them to sign up on the state’s donor registry. 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 or the Donate Life Colorado or Donate Life Wyoming Facebook pages.

Andrea Smith