Liver recipient Colleen Reed, Ph.D.

Liver recipient Colleen Reed, Ph.D.

“I often think about the ways so many in the donation and transplantation communities save lives every day,” said Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Ethics Committee member Colleen Reed, Ph.D.

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The Denver resident was introduced to the organ donation and transplantation community ten years ago when she met her spouse Jennifer Prinz, who is the incoming CEO of Donor Alliance, the federally designated organ procurement organization serving Colorado and Wyoming. It wasn’t until years after their marriage, however, that Reed would discover she had a rare, aggressive cancer and would need a liver transplant to survive. On New Year’s Day in 2016 at an after-hours clinic, Reed was informed that her liver was covered in tumors. “Eventually I began to prepare for my own death,” she said.

But in a moment that Reed refers to as a miracle, she was gifted with a lifesaving liver transplant in late 2016 after eight months spent waiting. “I am so grateful for the miracle gift of life shared with me by my heroic donor and donor family,” she said.

Now nearly four years after receiving the gift of life, Reed lives every day to the fullest as a way to honor the donor who made her life possible. “My life today would not be possible without the miraculous, lifesaving gift of my donor, who gave so selflessly of themselves in death,” she said.

In addition to serving as an advocate for organ, eye and tissue donation, Reed volunteers her time with the OPTN as a way to give back. “I would do anything to help save even one life of another person waiting on the list, to honor the heroism of donors, to help donor families understand how they are people made of love, and to shine light on the amazing generosity of living donors,” she said.

Transplant community volunteers are on the same team, working toward a common goal of increasing the number of transplants and saving more lives. Interested in contributing your expertise and experience to help the donation and transplantation community save lives together? Visit to find ways to get involved.

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