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By Andrea Flores

DENVER (CBS4) – The 18th Annual Donor Dash 5K kicks off at Denver’s Washington Park Sunday.

On Friday a man traveled from Illinois to meet his organ donor’s mother. They’ll walk the event together, year’s after a liver transplant saved his life.

donor dash Liver Transplant Recipient Makes Special Trip For Donor Dash

Julie Spear and Keith Stampley (credit: CBS)

Julie Spear, of Boulder, lost her 19-year-old son, Evan Spear, two years ago.

Friday, she met her son’s liver transplant recipient for the first time.

“It was like (Evan) left a will,” Spear said.

Evan passed away on May 16, 2015, after a fatal accident south of Pueblo.

“A rancher’s bull got loose, walked two miles down a road, down an entrance ramp onto Interstate 25, and into the path of his car,” Spear said.

Two days later, Keith Stampley, a retired minister of 30 years from Alton, Illinois, was given the gift of life.

“I thank God every day,” Stampley told CBS4’s Andrea Flores.

Since receiving the transplant, Keith says he can feel Evan every day.

“I never ate ketchup,” Stampley said. “After I had the transplant I was like, ‘Hey, I can eat ketchup.’ I never ate pizza, and I like pizza now.”

Evan also saved three other people thanks to his organ donation.

“It has been a source of light and honor for me. His legacy of giving life to others is amazing to me,” Spear said. “As a donor mom, it has really been saving me as well.”

As they begin their new relationship, Spear and Stampley are asking others to save lives.

“It isn’t just a heart on your license,” Spear said. “It truly can become a reality, and you can give life to others.”

Sunday’s 18th Annual Donor Dash 5K is hosted by Donor Alliance, an organization that arranges organ donations in Colorado and Wyoming.

LINK: donoralliance.org/…/donor-dash/

The race starts at 8 a.m.

Andrea Flores is a reporter for CBS4. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @AndreaFloresTV.

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