Man, doctor team up in donor walk to help others

Tammy Kranz
Posted

Scott Pinkney thought the odds were against him to receive a donated liver.

After all, the Northglenn man was in his 50s, and there were many children who needed livers, he said.

“I was thinking I was pretty old, and I would be pretty lucky if I got one,” he said.

Pinkney was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 2006. For three years doctors tried to kill the virus by using drug therapy, but that didn’t work. Then he was put on a liver-donor waiting list.

He waited for two years.

Aug. 19, 2011, proved to be Pinkney’s lucky day. He and his wife were at home when they got the call that a liver was available.

“It was a great moment in our lives,” said the 56-year-old. “I don’t know if there are words to explain how it feels to have a new chance at life.”

On July 21, Pinkney and the surgeon who performed his nearly 9-hour surgery, Dr. Igal Kam of the University of Colorado Hospital, participated in the 14 annual Donor Alliance 5K run/walk at Washington Park in Denver.

“Each July, thousands who’ve been touched by the lifesaving gift of donation and transplantation gather to celebrate life at the Donor Dash,” said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “Transplant recipients often walk in honor of their donors’ lives and in celebration of the miraculous gift they were given. Donor families walk in memory of their loved ones and in reverence to the selfless gifts they gave. It is the people who make this event so special.”    

Pinkney’s team for the walk/run was called The Unknown Donors, and it was to honor unanimous donors.

“I don’t know who my donor is, and I wrote the family a letter telling them how I appreciative we are for the gift, but unfortunately the family has been upset by their loss and won’t receive letters,” he said. “I just want to tell them thank you.”

Doctors were able to kill the virus in his body, which means that Pinkney’s new liver should last longer.

Pinkney is an education consultant and has lived in Northglenn for 13 years with his wife, Shirley. They had two children, a daughter and a deceased son, and a 9-year-old grandson. Pinkney said his son died in 2009 and wasn’t able to see the day his dad got the liver transplant. However, his son had signed up as an organ donor and was able to donate his eyes.

According to Donor Alliance, 67 percent of Coloradans have registered to be organ, eye and tissue donors.

“If you are a donor, you can find some solace in knowing the last thing you ever did was change someone’s life or give them a chance to live,” Pinkney said.