Ted Cochran never imagined he'd be running a non-profit organization. Then again, he never thought he'd receive a kidney transplant in 2006, or that his mother, Carla, would be the living donor.
Cochran began the My Angel Foundation three years ago to honor his mother's loving and unselfish gift. He has turned his passion for the cause into a full-time job, becoming an advocate for organ-donation awareness and expanding the foundation to help others in need of transplants.
Q. How has your mother's gift affected your life?Currently, 582 Iowans are on the national transplant waiting list.
Q. How has the foundation helped others?
A. Our educational campaigns have helped the Iowa Donor Registry sign up more than a million Iowans as organ, tissue and eye donors. We host a variety of events where individuals impacted by donation can come together. The foundation, in partnership with Iowa Donor Network, is launching a video with transplant testimonials to be shown in high school driver's education classes and plans to offer scholarships to students affected by organ donation. We also plan to create an emergency fund this year that local transplants centers can access to help patients needing financial assistance.
A. My mother and I were very close before, but now we share a special bond. I'm truly blessed to have such an amazing and loving mother. Each day I try my best to honor her gift by doing something meaningful.
Q. What are some of the most common questions your foundation fields?
A. How to become a registered donor is a frequent question. The foundation also fields many questions about the misconceptions of organ and tissue donation. For example: Are you ever too old or sick to register as a donor? No one should exclude himself/herself from the possibility of donating on the basis of age or medical history. Currently, only a positive HIV test will rule you out for organ, tissue and eye donation.
Q. How can someone become a donor?
A. Mark the donor designation on your Iowa driver's license or ID when you apply or renew, or register atwww.IowaDonorRegistry.org. Most important, share your decision with your family so they understand your wishes.
Q. What are upcoming events and goals?
A. My Angel Foundation's Third Annual C.A.R.E. 5K & 10K Run and Walk is May 1 in Waukee. We'd also like to see 1.5 million Iowans signed up as donors by July 2011.