Despite the challenges 2020 presented, there are many achievements to be celebrated. The need for transplantable organs remained an ongoing public health crisis in 2020 and did not slow amidst the pandemic. Donor Alliance’s mission remained at the forefront of every decision made, and our work to maximize every gift of life continued, uninterrupted.

Wait list can’t wait

How we changed in the wake of COVID-19

With nearly 2,000 people in Colorado and Wyoming waiting for a lifesaving transplant, the need for transplantable organs remained an ongoing public health crisis in 2020 and did not slow amidst the pandemic. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Donor Alliance’s mission remained at the forefront of every decision made, and our work to maximize every gift of life and save as many lives as possible continued, uninterrupted. 

Donor Alliance actively worked to plan for and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our mission to save lives, including working closely with state and local governments, donor hospitals and transplant centers to ensure the essential medical service continued without interruption. 

Our clinical teams and hospital partners worked tirelessly every day to deliver the gift of life to those in need. To protect the health and safety of our teams and transplant recipients, Donor Alliance began testing every donor for COVID-19, maximized virtual work, limited the number of staff accessing hospitals, capitalized on its in-house Recovery Center and provided as much protective equipment as possible.

Donor Alliance has and always will adhere to the highest medical standards, which in 2020 included working alongside several state and local agencies and partners to quickly and frequently adapt to issues and new challenges presented by COVID-19.

Surge planning

To ensure we could continue adequate medical evaluation and care, Donor Alliance instituted a surge plan in collaboration with our medical partners. Those steps, along with the transfer of donors to our stand-alone Recovery Center, helped minimize the impact on hospitals and ensured the gift of life could continue. 

Quick COVID-19 testing set up

Key hospital partners helped establish expedited COVID-19 testing for all potential donors early on in the pandemic, reducing delays and allowing staff to safely sustain the donation and transplantation process. Because of our strong relationships and ability to act quickly, we did not miss a single donor due to lack of accessibility to testing. 

Recovery Center maximization

By maximizing the use of the Donor Alliance Recovery Center, we were better able to pivot during the pandemic and decrease the burden on donor hospitals as they began to fill up. By taking recoveries out of overcrowded hospitals and performing them at our facility, we were able to effectively keep the donation process moving forward. 

2020 record-setting firsts


4 DCD heart donors:

Hearts recovered and transplanted in a procedure known as donation after circulatory death


8-organ donor:

One heroic donor was able to donate all eight transplantable organs


215 donors:
Recovered lifesaving organs from more donors than ever in our region
Going virtual

Connecting with the community

Donor Alliance works to educate and inspire public understanding of donation through several initiatives. To do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe, Donor Alliance limited activities to virtual and outdoor events with limited capacity. While events looked a little different in 2020, thousands of people from across Colorado and Wyoming still came together to honor the lives of donors, celebrate the lives of recipients and support those who continued to wait for a lifesaving transplant. 

Through reimagined virtual events, including the 2020 Donor Dash, Donor Family Tribute, Donate Life Wyoming Scavenger Hunt and National Donate Life Month celebrations, people from across our two-state region could safely participate from their own homes, cars, yards and neighborhoods. Residents in Colorado and Wyoming were also active in showing their support for organ, eye and tissue donation through virtual advocacy with online trainings for our Advocates for Life Volunteer program, virtual media interviews to raise awareness and engaging in our Transplantation Science digital curriculum. 

Transplantation Science Digital Curriculum Program

Transplantation Science is a free school curriculum program for grades 6-12 that teaches the science behind organ and tissue donation and transplantation. The Transplantation Science Traveling Trunk program was awarded the Donate Life America Pinnacle Awards in Youth Education and Innovation in 2020. As schools throughout Colorado and Wyoming moved to virtual and hybrid learning in 2020, Donor Alliance quickly adapted by creating a digital curriculum and making the already established traveling trunk program available to all schools. By expanding to three program formats, 67 teachers signed up for access to the program reaching almost 5,000 students in 2020.