Friday, December 31, 2010

FROM ALL OF US @ DONATE LIFE ORGAN DONATION BLOG

DONATE LIFE FLOAT "SEIZE THE DAY"  FLORAGRAPH FAMILY BRUNCH
December 30th





December 30, 2010: Floragraph Families join us in Pasadena to commemorate their loved ones.






PLEASE VISIT THE DONATE LIFE ROSE FLOAT WEBSITE FOR COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE
DONATE LIFE ROSE FLOAT "SEIZE THE DAY"  FLOAT DECORATING
December, 30th




December 30, 2010: Float Riders Join us in Pasadena to decorate the 2011 Donate Life Rose Parade Float "Seize The Day"



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PLEASE VISIT THE DONATE LIFE FLOAT WEBSITE FOR COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE

DONATE LIFE ROSE FLOAT "SEIZE THE DAY"  FLOAT DECORATING
December 29th




December 29, 2010: Floragraph Families and Partners Join us in Pasadena to decorate the 2011 Donate Life Rose Parade Float "Seize The Day"



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PLEASE VISIT THE DONATE LIFE FLOAT WEBSITE FOR COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE

DONATE LIFE ROSE FLOAT - HOSPITAL PARTNERS ROSE DEDICATIONS
DECEMBER 29, 2010




Prominent Transplant Surgeon and Ethics Expert Criticizes “Release for Kidney” Decision by Governor
Source: Inside Medicine
December 31st, 2010


Hackensack University Medical Center Transplant Chief Dr. Michael Shapiro is sharply critical of the recent decision of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour to commute life sentences of sisters Gladys and Jamie Scott under the stipulation that one of the sisters donate a kidney to their dialysis-dependent sibling.

Shapiro, who is also the head of the ethics panel at the United Organ Sharing Network, correctly points out several aspects of this pardon that are completely contradictory to the formal rules of how organ transplants are performed in the United States. One severe ethics violation is that donors may not be coerced or induced into providing an organ and the gift of such should not be conditional in any way.

SO WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.
Dying Man Helps Others To Live Longer, Honolulu, Hawaii

Kapolei Man Working To Give Back Despite Stage Three Kidney Failure
HONOLULU -- What would you do if you knew you were dying? A Kapolei man diagnosed with incurable stage three kidney failure is using what time he has left to help others live longer, better lives.

If Bob Klouster could find a way to fix his ailing body as well as he can cars, he would.

Diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that is attacking his failing kidneys, doctors have given Bob 2 1/2 years to live.

"So my body is basically thinking my kidney is a foreign object. To get a transplant, the likelihood of doing the same thing is very high, so they put me very low no the wait list," said Klouster.

The prognosis has been difficult to fathom for the 37-year-old North Dakota native, who moved to Hawaii four years ago with his wife, who serves in the Air Force.

Klouster was a record-breaking track star in high school and at 18 was an elite college football recruit.

"You never really fully encompass the whole thing, because some days, I look as healthy as anybody," said Klouster.

But instead of being bitter about his fate, Klouster has decided to use his skills as a certified mechanic to help repair the used cars donated to the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii.

"I've had a full life compared to kids who have kidney disease that are very young," said Klouster. "So I'm kind of looking at it like that. Trying to help them and maybe others who come after me," said Klouster.

The National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii receives more than 3,000 used cars a year as donations. The donated cars provide more than $1.3 million in revenue to the foundation.

"Without Bob's help, I think we won't be able to fix as many cars. We won't be able to improve as many cars and of course, that just means we'd have less services and programs," said Glen Hayashida, National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii's CEO.

Bob said he has good days and bad days. He's in pain almost every day. But he said he doesn't believe in having a bucket list.

"I'm just thankful for everyday I'm able to get up and go. I"m very fortunate that I have a loving wife and caring family and that's what gets me through," said Klouster.

He's living proof, you can have a bad kidney, but still have a good heart.

For more information on how to become an organ donor or donate a car to the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii go to www.kidneyhi.org.

Brothers thriving after life-saving transplant
By JESSE CHANEY, Brush News-Tribune

After reuniting in their hometown of Brush for Christmas 2010, Kevin and Randy Carlson re-flected on the life-saving gift one of the brothers gave the other during the holiday season two years ago.

A 1990 Brush High School graduate and current software developer in Littleton, Kevin sus-tained kidney damage after falling off a go-kart when he was a child. While still living in Brush with parents Wayne and Carol Carlson, he learned that he would eventually need a kidney trans-plant.

It wasn’t until about 20 years later that Kevin learned he would need to start dialysis or undergo surgery immediately to replace his severely malfunctioning kidney. He was told it could take three to five years to secure a kidney from a cadaver donor.

“I probably would have been fine on dialysis for that long, but it’s much better modality to ac-tually get a transplant,” he said. “You’re going to be much healthier.”

Both of his two brothers immediately began investigating whether they could donate one of their own kidneys to Kevin, and Randy was the first to get medical approval.

After a sequence of medical testing and counseling sessions, the Carlson brothers scheduled the transplant surgery for December 2008.

“Obviously it’s a huge gift, a huge sacrifice Randy gave for me, and I don’t take that lightly at all,” Kevin said.

A 1997 BHS graduate and U.S. Air Force scientist from Virginia, Randy said he had no reser-vations about donating the kidney to his older brother and would do it again if needed.

“The success rate of transplants is very high, so I wasn’t worried about that,” he said.

Even so, Kevin said the surgery might have been more painful for the donor because of the pro-cess used to extract his kidney.

“Surgery was probably actually harder on him than it was on me,” he said.

The Carlson brothers were only in the hospital for about three days after the surgery, and they were able to resume non-strenuous activity after about a month.

Now, two years later, Randy said he feels no different than before the surgery, and Kevin feels even better.

“I feel a lot better having a working kidney,” Kevin said. “ ... I feel strong. Everything is going wonderfully. The kidney is still performing as well as it did within a week of the surgery.”

Though both men are feeling as good as ever, they have had to make some slight adjustments as a result of the surgery. To prevent his immune system from rejecting his new kidney, Kevin has to take an immuno-suppressant once every 12 hours indefinitely. Because of the medications, he is at a greater risk of contracting serious illnesses from other people, such as his young daughter.

“If she would get chicken pox or shingles or the wrong type of virus, I would pretty much have to flee the house because it could be fatal to me,” he said. “Viruses are what I really have to watch out for.”

Kevin has to see a doctor for regular checkups every three months, though he sometimes had appointments even more frequently before the surgery. To ensure that his body is not rejecting the kidney, he also has to see a doctor every time he contracts a fever or the common cold.

“If you’re sick at all, they want to test you,” he said. “And, obviously, the more proactive you are, the better chance there is to treat the problem.”

As the donor, Randy has only had to make slight adjustments to his diet and avoid certain medicines. Specifically, he has been instructed to avoid Ibuprofen and refrain from eating too much salt.

“You can totally live a normal life with one kidney. I just have to be a little extra careful,” he said. “In general, it’s stuff that a normal human should do anyway.”

Kevin said statistics show that organ donors actually live longer than most people, probably be-cause they make healthy choices and must be in good physical condition to be selected for the pro-cedure.

Due in part to the success of the operation, both men have been able to accomplish much in the two years following the transplant. Kevin’s wife became pregnant with their first child while he was still on dialysis, he said, and Faith Randall Carlson was born in April 2009.

“She’s a miracle,” he said. “You’re not supposed to be able to have kids while you’re on dialy-sis.”

The girl’s first name reflects the Carlsons’ outlook as they faced the impending transplant, and her middle name pays homage to the uncle who literally gave a piece of himself to save her fa-ther’s life.

“That was something we really wanted to do with our firstborn, boy or girl, was to name her after Randy,” he said. “ ... He’s just a remarkable little brother.”

The surgery was held after Randy began pursuing a Ph.D. in astronomy at New Mexico State University, and he graduated with his doctorate earlier this month.
Splattered tomato leads to love and a new life
By Ed Yeates, Deseret News



SANDY — Come midnight Friday, a Sandy couple will celebrate a milestone new year — their first together in 22 years.

Call it fate or coincidence, the road traveled by Tina and Scott Jones is nothing short of amazing.

Their story began at a Christmas-New Year's dance at Highland High School more than two decades ago. As multiple couples sat at a long table, eating dinner, Scott bit into a cherry tomato. "I thought it was going to hit her," he said. "It just kind of splattered on her dress and everything went quiet. I thought, 'I'm dead. I am so dead.'"

At the time, Scott was with his date and Tina was with hers. But when the tomato hit, Tina laughed. "And then this big boisterous laugh comes out and just totally changed the moment," he recalled.

It not only changed the moment then, but would do it again later in a bizarre, yet remarkable way. The two dated and remained friends off and on for a while, but both went their separate ways.

Scott married someone else; so did Tina. Shortly after high school, Scott was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lupus — a devastating life-threatening disease.

As Scott recalled, "I was really down in the dumps. I wasn't getting any better. The disease was progressively getting worse. I just couldn't take the dialysis anymore, and I just couldn't take being sick any more."

Then about five years ago, Tina and Scott met again, by chance, while passing through Price. Divorce had impacted each of them emotionally. Tina learned that Scott needed a kidney transplant to survive. Though the odds were against her, she wanted to be tested. Not only was she a match, she was an exact match.

At the time, Scott said, "There's no way she could be a match, and when we were told she was a perfect match, well, I was just floored."

"It was the neatest thing to finally give somebody their life back," Tina said from her home in Sandy.

Life renewed? It's gone way beyond that transplant six months ago. The two were married in September, drawing together children from both sides of their previous marriages.

"Wow, to finally be married to my best friend and to truly mean that and the bond that you share — not only donating an organ — but then the friendship we've shared through all those years," Tina said. "We're taught to bear one another's burdens and to be able to help bear that burden and to lift that burden from him and to give him his life back so he could get back into the lives of his kids."

The tomato incident in high school, a friendship that wouldn't go away, a chance meeting years later, an exact match for a transplant — call it what you will. Tina believes it's "divine intervention." "I think it was heaven sent," she said. "As much as I've been a blessing in his life, he's been a blessing in mine."

"When we were going through the wedding ceremony, I just didn't think it was real," Scott said. "Actually, I did remember the whole tomato incident and thought, 'Wow, if that would have hit somebody else or if I wouldn't have done it at all, I wonder would we have met or paid attention to each other?'"

The new year will wrap up a whole bunch of years, securing a bond now that probably was always there. Scott says he was always known as the sick kid.

"Now, I have my health back and Tina is here and it's all completely new for me."  "We're starting over again for everything," Tina added. "It's the hope you always hold on to and it's finally here."

For the Joneses and their family and friends, they expect 2011 will be a happy "fortuitous" new year.

Incidentally, Scott's lupus is under control and that kidney from Tina is working just fine.

"We both had stronger feelings for each other than just pals and I don't know, I think we both knew we would be back in each other's lives either as friends or whatever," Scott said.

He actually proposed to Tina shortly after high school, but she didn't think it was real.

"He did propose in a letter, and I didn't take him seriously because when he delivered the letter, he was with one of his friends who happened to be a female," she said.
Boulder cancer survivor Parker Simpson, 19, to ride on float in Rose Parade
By Brittany Anas | Camera Staff Writer


It was Mother's Day, of all days, when the news came back to Parker Simpson that a tumor in his shoulder was cancerous, the 19-year-old recalls.

He was 17 at the time and a wrestler and football player at his high school in Aurora. For some reason -- he's still unsure why -- he laughed when the doctor broke it to him that he had stage IV cancer. It was just months earlier that his ankle had swelled up to the size of a grapefruit; doctors then discovered a staph infection and thought they were going to need to amputate his leg.

Simpson, who lives in Boulder and has studied at the University of Colorado, is now healthy and cancer-free after eight rounds of chemotherapy.

On New Year's Day, he will participate in the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade to celebrate his new life. He'll ride on the Donate Life float, helping raise awareness about tissue donations.

He traveled to Pasadena, Calif., this week, joined by his mother. The 122nd Rose Parade begins at 9 a.m. Saturday.

"Now that the cloud isn't over our heads anymore, we can get out there and enjoy the experience," Simpson said earlier this week.

To save his cancer-ridden arm, Simpson's shoulder and a large part of his humerus were replaced with an allograft bone transplant from a deceased donor. The tissue donation allowed Simpson to once again be active. Rock climbing in Boulder and weightlifting are his new hobbies.

It's the eighth year that Donate Life is sponsoring a float in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade. The "Seize the Day" float will include organ and tissue transplant recipients, living donors and family members of deceased donors from around the country. They'll come together to celebrate life and remember their loved ones.

For Simpson, the donation has made him feel like he has endless possibilities, he said. Living in Boulder and attending CU has made him interested in studying environmental sciences.

Simpson's participation in the parade is sponsored by AlloSource, a Centennial-based nonprofit provider of skin, bone and soft tissue allografts used in surgeries. The company says the parade float helps garner attention about not only organ donation, but lesser-understood tissue donation.

Along with Simpson, Patricia Thomas, of Cody, Wyo., will ride on the float in memory of her daughter Kathleen, who died at age 31 of an illness. Her daughter's gifts of life included donated corneas and heart valves as well as bone and skin grafts.

The donations of Kathleen Thomas, who loved nature and the mountains, have been aiding people around the world, her mother said.

"I received a letter from the recipient of one of Kathleen's corneas, an 85-year-old woman from Nagasaki, Japan," Thomas said. "My husband and I were so touched to learn of Kathleen's gifts going full circle."

To register as an organ donorColoradans can register their decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor in the following ways:
Online at DonateLifeColorado.org
At the Driver's License Officethe next time you obtain or renew your driver's license
By calling888-256-4386

Santa Fe Springs woman memorialized on Rose Parade float
By Sandra T. Molina, Staff Writer | Whittier Daily News



SANTA FE SPRINGS - Nearly 13 years after her death from a brain aneurysm, Millicent Sue Zittritsch will be part of the 122nd Tournament of Roses Parade.

Her likeness will appear on the Donate Life float, "Seize the Day!" among 60 floragraphs (floral portraits) decorated by donor family members and recipients.  "It's the greatest thing," said Shirleen King, Zittritsch's mother. "I hope people see the float and are made aware of the need for organ donations."

On Feb. 25, 1998, the 33-year-old Zittritsch, of Santa Fe Springs, died from a brain aneurysm.  She was a donor organ advocate, her family said.  "It was just who she was," said King, 68. "She would've given anyone her last dollar."

Five people are living healthy lives today because of her selfless gift.

George Miller, 69, of Ventura, received Zittritsch's liver the morning after his doctors gave him only hours to live. He had been suffering from a "fatty" liver for about a year when he suffered sudden liver failure. Miller and his wife, Lucille, 69, decorated the floragraph. "It was a privilege," he said. "It's a beautiful way to honor Millie." The couple was concerned they wouldn't do a good job of decorating the picture.

"It was much more difficult than I thought it would be," Miller said of placing the onion seeds, powdered rice, ground freeze-dried strawberries and other items on Zittritsch's image.

"She would be thrilled about the float," King said. "Not just about her picture, but more importantly about how many people will become more aware of organ donations by seeing the float."

"Our goal is to inspire people to be organ and tissue donors," said Bryan Stewart, vice president of communications of One Legacy, the primary sponsor of the float.  "People will see how we are honoring and remembering those generous people who made donations so others can live," he said.

Zittritsch's mother said being part of the float is just a way for her daughter to continue being an organ donor advocate.

"From the time she got her driver's license, she had that pink dot on it," King said, referring to the sticker placed on licenses designating one as an organ donor.

Stewart said that attitude is displayed on the Rose Parade float.

"Our float entry soars with colorful kites that inspire people to `Seize the Day' and register as organ, eye and tissue donors," he said. "The tails of the kites are adorned with memorial floragraph portraits of deceased donors whose legacies lift the kites and the hopes of those in need of transplants."

For information on organ donation, log on to www.donatelifefloat.org
Kentucky organ donor to be honored during Rose Bowl Parade
Missy Fields died in a car accident six years ago, but she touched countless lives with eye and tissue donation.
video

A parade taking place thousands of miles away will have extra special meaning for one Kentucky family this year.

A float in the annual Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena, California will honor a young woman who saved lives after she lost her life.

Missy Fields was just 22 years old when she died in a car accident on Mother's Day, six years ago.

Fields will be honored on the Donate Life float in the Rose Bowl parade this weekend.

Her florograph, a picture made from flowers, will wave on some banners attached to the float.

Eight other Kentuckians are being recognized with special roses.

Fields touched countless lives with eye and tissue donation.

Missy's parents, David and Janie fields, are in Pasadena, and even helped put the finishing touches on the float.

"It's very touching to see all the donors," Janie Fields said. "Gosh, just knowing Missy's up there, and to know she's not forgotten, that's just everything to me."

There are currently more than 100,000 people on the donor waiting list. Six hundred of them live here in Kentucky.
AFLOAT WITH GRATITUDE
Families of organ donors, recipients celebrate transplants in Donate Life Rose Parade entry
By Kevin Modesti, Staff Writer | The Daily News Los Angeles



PASADENA - From Jim Barnett's vantage point, it will be a tribute to a family of strangers who saved his life.

From where Liz Seraphin sits, it will be an honor for a daughter who lost her life.

Barnett, a Lancaster resident, and Seraphin, of West Los Angeles, will watch the Rose Parade on New Year's Day from different places but with similar anticipation for a single float.

The float representing Donate Life, a national organization that promotes organ and tissue donation, will display floral portraits of 60 deceased donors.

Among them is Amanda Seraphin, whose death at age 25 in a horseback-riding accident seven years ago led to Barnett, Arturo Nunez of Corona and a heart patient in Canada receiving vital-organ transplants.

One day recently, Jim Barnett and his wife Ellen worked elbow to elbow with Liz Seraphin and her brother Bob Mummey to decorate the life-size floragraph image of a smiling Amanda.

"Amanda will never have a wedding. She'll never have the fun of naming a child as I did. But she will have the honor of riding in the Rose Parade," said Liz Seraphin, a 66-year-old educator, who will watch with four relatives from a grandstand on Colorado Boulevard.

"It will never take the place of her, of course. But it's extraordinarily meaningful to me."

Barnett plans to view the parade on TV with Ellen.

"We've always watched," said Barnett, 60, who works for Northrop Grumman. "But this year is going to be extra-special."

The families had never met before last month at the office of One Legacy, an L.A.-based organ procurement organization. They got together again Dec. 11 at the Rose Parade float-assembly pavilion near the Rose Bowl.

In the years after the transplant, Barnett wrote two letters to Liz Seraphin. She wrote one back to him.

She said she still struggled with too many emotions to face the people who - in one way of looking at it - benefited from her tragedy.

"It's a profound shock to lose a daughter in a sudden way," Seraphin explained last week. "(But) I've learned to separate the loss of my daughter from (her feelings about) organ donation."

The conversation among Liz Seraphin, the Barnetts and the Nunezes wound up feeling surprisingly normal, Barnett said.

There were thank-yous and tears. They talked about grandchildren. Barnett has eight, Nunez 11.

"We treated each other like family. Which, in a sense, we are. Amanda kept me alive, and I'm carrying a piece of her," said Barnett, who has her kidney and pancreas.

One of Arturo Nunez's five children said it was an "amazing feeling" to see the three families together.

"There are a lot of different emotions. We share so much," said Adriana Nunez, whose father is a 71-year-old retired mobile-home builder.

Nunez invited Seraphin to place her hand on his abdomen, to "feel" the liver he received from her daughter.

"I felt Amanda was there," Seraphin said. "Not just her liver, but the essence of Amanda."

Seraphin said: "When I see the size of these families, I think this (what she has gone through) was worth it."

Liz Seraphin said she loved to watch Amanda ride horses, the young woman's posture straight and high, blond hair flowing from her helmet, joy beaming from her ruddy cheeks.

Liz said she expects to experience oddly similar feelings when she watches the Rose Parade float showing Amanda's portrait to the world.

"I think I'll feel immense pride," Seraphin said. "That's the same emotion I felt when I watched her equestrian competitions."

Amanda had been riding in Temecula, preparing for a cross-country equestrian competition, when her horse missed a jump over a rail and fell.

Telling the story, Liz said, "is still hard."

Amanda sustained a traumatic brain injury. She lived another four days at a Riverside hospital.

Liz maintained hope until the moment a doctor asked: "Would you want to talk about organ donation?"

The decision by Liz and her older daughter Kristen to donate Amanda's organs ended up providing the only silver lining in the ordeal.

Liz Seraphin remembered how her spirits soared as helicopters carrying that life-giving cargo rose in the dark sky.

"That was the last happiness I had for a while," she said.

Barnett and Nunez received phone calls that night from Loma Linda University Medical Center.

Barnett, who was diabetic, had been on dialysis for nearly a year while waiting for a kidney to match his rare B-positive blood type. Nunez, suffering from cirrhosis, had been on the national organ-donor waiting list for three months.

Twenty-four hours later, Jim and Arturo were in surgery.

It was April 25, 2003 - Ellen Barnett's birthday.

Ellen remembers that birthday as "the best one ever," but also recalls bittersweet emotions.

"The family that just lost somebody is planning a funeral, and we're celebrating new life," said Ellen, a former school teacher.

Jim is healthy now, and he and Ellen are able to travel again.

It was a year after the transplant before the Barnetts learned anything about the donor. Amanda had been the same age as the second of the Barnetts' three children. The Seraphins had moved here from Michigan, just like the Barnetts.

On Dec. 11, during a break from creating Amanda's floragraph, they stood in pale-blue Donate Life T-shirts next to the float and chatted like old friends.

Donate Life's seventh annual Rose Parade float depicts kite-flying as an expression of its theme: "Seize the Day!"

Randi Swersky, a Sherman Oaks resident who received a new liver and kidney nearly five years ago, paused while working on the float to say she hopes seeing the float will inspire people to learn more about organ donation.

"There are a lot of misconceptions," Swersky said, including the incorrect belief that doctors won't try as hard to save people who have signed up to be organ donors.

One Legacy, a Los Angeles-based partner of Donate Life, says more than 109,000 people are on the national organ-transplant waiting list. They include more than 8,000 in the L.A. area's seven counties.

Though nearly 90,000 Americans have registered as organ, tissue and eye donors by visiting donatelife.net, it's not enough to prevent 17 dying each day awaiting organ transplants.

Watching Liz Seraphin chat with the Barnetts and Nunezes underscored the value of planning for organ donation, said Tenaya Wallace, director of Donate Life's Hollywood campaign.

"At their darkest moment," Wallace said of the Seraphins, "they were thinking beyond themselves."

In addition to the 60 floragraphs and 30,000 roses dedicated to specific donors, the float will carry 27 organ donors and recipients, and one person who is on a waiting list for a kidney.

The floragraphs include a portrait of Katya Todesco, a Simi Valley girl who died at age 5 in 2008. Her heart went to Kyle Martin, of Mission Viejo, who is 7.

Mia Adriano, of Pasadena, who died in 42 in January, is honored with a floragraph. Her sister Irene Atencio, 43, who received a tendon from Mia to repair a knee, will be a float rider.

Each floragraph was made by teams of family members like the Barnetts and Seraphins.

"I think I'll have a sense of pride that we got the chance to help honor our donor Amanda and her family," Barnett said, looking ahead to Jan. 1. "It's a beautiful tribute," Seraphin said. "It surprises me I would feel so good about it."
DECEASED INFANT TO BE HONORED DURING ROSE PARADE, Joseph Quiambao
Source: KOBTV
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Organ donation brings gift of life and hope, United Kingdom
By Mike Laycock | The York Press

The Press has spearheaded a campaign urging people to save lives through organ donation. MIKE LAYCOCK catches up with people whose stories have moved readers in the past year and urges others to become Lifesavers in 2011.

PENSIONER Bob Shead says none of the presents he received on Christmas Day could match the gift of sight that came six months earlier.

Bob, 73, of Strensall, will go into 2011 seeing clearly again, following a corneal transplant at York Hospital. Previously, his sight was so blurred that trying to see was like “looking at fog through a dirty windscreen”.

He said: “It’s just wonderful to see again. It’s better than any Christmas present I could have had. I can read again, with a magnifying glass and light, and walk in the city centre without worrying I am going to bump into a scaffolding pole.”

But Dan Skelton, 22, said Christmas passed without him receiving the best possible gift – a kidney transplant to transform his life.

Now, with the latest tests showing his kidney function has fallen to only nine per cent, Dan, formerly of Helmsley but now living in Easingwold, expects to have to start going on dialysis by March, about a year after he first went on the waiting list for a transplant.

Meanwhile, Claire Davies, 35, of Acomb, who once struggled to get out of bed because of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which thickens heart muscles, said she had just spent her first normal, healthy Christmas since she underwent a heart transplant operation 16 months ago.

“Last year, I was still recovering and felt like I had been hit by a truck,” she said.

“This year, I was really able to enjoy the day with my family like anyone else.”

Today the trio urged people who have not yet joined the Organ Donor Register to make it their New Year resolution to finally do so. “It could transform my life and many other people who are in my position,” said Dan, whose condition makes him so tired that he sometimes has to sleep in until 3pm.

Their comments were made as The Press’s year-long Lifesavers campaign came to a close, having helped to encourage more than 13,500 people in our region to join the Organ Donor Register – equivalent to 37 a day.

The campaign, launched last December following the tragic death of cystic fibrosis sufferer Emma Young, 22, aimed to raise awareness of organ donation and recruit an extra 20,000 donors in our circulation area.

Joanne Turner, donor transplant co-ordinator at York Hospital, said: “It has been really encouraging to know so may people have joined the register.”

She said a record number of 3,706 transplants were carried out in the UK last year, although the number of patients needing one continued to increase, with nearly 8,000 patients currently waiting.

She said: “This shows that promoting the importance of organ donation must not stop.”

• To join the Organ Donor Register, go online atorgandonation.nhs.uk, phone the 24-hour donor line on 0300 1232323 or text SAVE to 84118.
New Drivers Face Organ Donor Question, United Kingdom
Source: SkyNews, UK

Drivers applying for new licences will soon have to answer a question about organ donation.


Applicants can skip over a question when applying for a licence under the current system.

But from July the new procedure will make would-be drivers state if they want to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register or defer a decision until a later date.

It is hoped the DVLA pilot scheme will boost the numbers of those willing to give vital body parts to help others live in the case of their own death.

Only 27% of people in the UK are registered donors at the moment.

But studies have shown that a far larger proportion are in favour of donating body parts.

In America similar changes have seen numbers of willing donors almost double.

It is estimated that getting more people to sign-up could save the lives of some of the 8,000 people in the UK currently waiting for a transplant.

Prompted choice schemes in the US have seen a bump in registrations.

Public health minister Anne Milton said: "Surveys show that a large number of people in the UK are happy to donate their organs for transplantation but haven't got round to registering.

"We hope that by prompting people into making a decision we can encourage more people to register."

SIMILAR LEGISLATION WILL BE EFFECTIVE ON JANUARY 1, 2011 IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

THANK YOU TO ONELEGACY COLLEAGUE HEDI AGUIAR FOR SENDING US THIS STORY FROM THE UK.
Donor families thank Rose Parade volunteers
Source: ABC 7 Los Angeles
It was an emotional scene in Pasadena, as a group of volunteers bringing the Donate Life float to life met donor families

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DONATE LIFE ORGAN DONATION BLOG ATTENDED THIS FLORAGRAPH FAMILIES BRUNCH YESTERDAY AND WILL BE POSTING PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT SHORTLY

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Register ex-reporter among organ donors honored on float
By JAIMEE LYNN FLETCHER | THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER



GARDEN GROVE - Knowing that in his death he gave others life offers Vu Nguyen's family comfort.

Nguyen died on May 17, 2009 at age 34 after suffering a heart attack. For those who knew him as the man who laughed a lot but loved even more, it was no surprise he had opted to be an organ and tissue donor.

"It's great for our family to know that even though he passed away, his organs are with somebody else's loved one," said his father Chuyen Nguyen.

Nguyen is one of 60 organ, eye and tissue donors who will be honored New Year's Day onDonate Life's Rose Parade float, "Seize the Day." Nguyen worked as a reporter for theOrange County Register from 2004 through 2006 covering Garden Grove, Westminster and Little Saigon.

Portraits of the donors called "floragraphs" crafted from seeds and other non-perishables will be the focus of the float to memorialize those who gave posthumously. The float will also include 30 riders who have been impacted by organ donation, Donate Life reported.

Among those honored are two police officers from Tampa, Fla. who were shot and killed in the line of duty; several from the military who died while fighting overseas and 19 donors who died before age 20.

A Laguna Niguel resident honored her brother on the float.

Donate Life reported more than 28,000 people are saved every year because of organ donation and there are about 108,000 waiting for an organ transplant.

Nguyen's family on Dec. 18 went to Pasadena to decorate his portrait. They spent about five hours pasting seeds to the photograph for the float, Chuyen Nguyen said.

"It's a great honor knowing that his generous act has been recognized," his dad said. "We have been going to all the events that One Legacy and Donate Life had ever since Vu passed away, particularly some of the sessions to help us heal in the absence of our loved one."

Nguyen's wife, Heather Hua, said pasting flowers to fill in her husband's eyebrows and wide smile struck her as a surreal moment that simultaneously sparked painful memories and feelings of pride.

"A year and a half has passed but sometimes it still doesn't feel real," she said. "It was such a tragedy for our family but it saved someone else's life. It's a beautiful gift."

Chuyen Nguyen added his son will also be honored in Donate Life's national calendar for 2011. He will be the month of August, he said.

Nguyen's journalism career also included writing for the Seattle Times, the Associated Press, Yakima Herald-Republic, Nguoi Viet 2 in Little Saigon and the Daily Breeze.

Many Register readers wrote to thank Nguyen, who struggled with a weight problem all his life, as he chronicled his gastric bypass procedure in a series of articles in 2005.

Colleagues and friends say Vu's personality was magnetic. He was loud, fun and unforgettable.

Register reporter Fermin Leal wrote: "If the measure of a man is the love of his family, the admiration by his friends, and the respect from his peers, then Vu Nguyen was a giant."

And for 5 1/2 miles on Saturday Vu's impact will be giant-sized when millions of spectators and viewers watch as the "Seize the Day" float memorializes 60 people from across the nation who have donated life.

"I am so proud of him," Hua said. "I hope Vu will be watching New Year's morning."
Loma Linda University Medical Center Transplantation Institute patients, doctors and volunteers add color to 2011 Donate Life Rose Parade Float
Source: Highland Community News

PASADENA, CA – Dec. 30, 2010 – A Rose Parade float dedicated to organ and tissue donation has been made more colorful and vibrant, thanks to the meticulous work and attention to detail of patients, doctors and staff from Loma Linda University Medical Center Transplantation Institute.

Twenty volunteers from the institute went to Pasadena on Wednesday, Dec. 29, to help decorate the Donate Life float, which will be among those to be featured on the world-famous Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. The volunteers included bone marrow transplant donors, recipients, transplant doctors and other volunteers.

“I grew up watching the Rose Parade on TV and it’s incredible that I am now here helping to make it happen,” said Victor Villalobos, 25, of Upland. Victor received a bone marrow transplant and is the Transplantation Institute’s sponsored float rider. He is the first bone marrow transplant patient to ride on the Donate Life Rose Parade float, and he said he hopes to encourage people to become living donors.

“The list of people who need organs and tissues is growing and I hope people will find it in their heart to become a donor,” he said. He expressed thanks for his donor for giving him a new lease on life.


The 2011 Donate Life Rose Parade float entry has for its title “Seize the Day!,” calling on all people to live life to the fullest and save lives as organ, eye and tissue donors.
Mikey Carraway Gives Thanks To Liver Donor's Family
CHRISTINA HOAG | The Huffington 

PASADENA, Calif. — Eleven-year-old Mikey Carraway's liver had failed – doctors had two weeks at most to find an organ donor to save his life. Two days later, they had one_ 18-year-old Johnny Hernandez, who suffered a fatal brain injury in a motorcycle crash.

Mikey, now 13, and his mom Shaheda Wright thanked the Hernandez family in person Wednesday in a rare meeting between a donor family and an organ recipient.

"We just want to say to you that if it wasn't for your decision at tough time in your life, my son wouldn't be here today," Wright said.

"You don't have to thank me," said Johnny' s mother, Christine Hernandez, tears spilling down her cheeks. "It was a gift from God."

Mikey and his mom, who live in Oakland, arrived in Pasadena for Saturday's Rose Parade, in which Mikey will represent the California Transplant Donor Network on the "Donate Life" float. The float, titled "Seize the Day," will feature 30 organ recipients and the portraits of 60 donors made out of flowers.

The Hernandez relatives, who live around inland Southern California, came to Mikey's hotel to meet him with photos of Johnny and a DVD of his funeral service. There were tears aplenty, but also some laughs.

"Do you feel Mexican at all now?" Denise Leyva, Johnny's aunt, asked Mikey. "Are you getting sudden cravings for tacos?"

J.R. Aranda, one of Johnny's close friends, related that Johnny was such a fan of the Oakland Raiders, he had the team's insignia tattooed on his upper arm – unbeknownst to his mother.

Mikey, also a diehard Raiders follower, said he wants to get one in the same place. "Kid, wait a minute," his mother cautioned. Instead, Aranda presented Mikey a blanket with the team symbol on it.
DONATE LIFE ROSE PARADE FLOAT - "SEIZE THE DAY" HOSPITAL PARTNERS ROSE DEDICATION
December 29, 2010

video

Southland area hospitals "Seized the Day" dedicating roses to donor and donor families.  These are the unofficial photos, professional photos will be available on the Donate Life Float website

Please contact me if you wish us to send you any of the photos contained in the slideshow.
Organ donor with local ties to be honored during Rose Parade, Michigan
Source: Alpena News

Twenty-year-old Joshua D. Tolan brightened the world with his smile, his personality and his generosity. In June 2009, he became a hero, saving four lives as an organ donor after an auto accident. His portrait, made of floral materials, will be one of 60 "floragraphs" of donors from across the country featured on the Donate Life Rose Parade float in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year's Day. Tolan's father, Dan, is an Alpena native, and many family members still live in Alpena.

"This is a wonderful tribute to Joshua," said Richard Pietroski, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan, the sponsor of the floragraph. "Like all donors, Josh leaves a legacy of giving. His family, in the midst of immense tragedy, displayed selfless generosity that meant new life for others."

Tolans's floragraph will be displayed on the Donate Life Rose Parade float entitled "Seize the Day!"

The 2011 float entry soars with colorful kites that inspire people to share laughter, sun, wind and the visual beauty of the moment, and to register as organ, eye and tissue donors.

Through their life-changing experiences, the families of organ and tissue donors, living donors and recipients of life-saving transplants teach us all a profound lesson: to "Seize the Day!" and make the most of every moment to build dreams, friendships and memories with loved ones.

"At the hospital, when we were told that Josh was brain dead, we immediately inquired about the option of organ donation," Renelle Tolan, Joshua's mother, said. "We knew that if Josh had been able to make his own decision, he would have chosen the same option. We have been blessed by receiving letters from two of the organ recipients, and it reiterates to us that we made the right decision. Josh continues to brighten other lives even after death."

In 2010, more than 300,000 people have joined the Michigan Organ Donor Registry to document their decision to help others by becoming an organ, tissue and cornea donor. Each donor can save up to eight lives and improve the lives of 50 more through tissue donation, according to Gift of Life Michigan, the state's federally designated organ and tissue recovery organization.

To sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, visit giftoflifemichigan.org, call 800-482-4881 or visit any Secretary of State office. You will receive a red heart donor emblem for the front of your driver's license or ID card.
Branchburg's Jessica Melore meets the family that gave her a heart
BY STEPHEN REED 




PHILADELPHIA — More than 11 years have passed since Shannon Eckert, an 18-year-old girl from Mechanicsburg, Pa., died in a car crash. To her grieving family's surprise, she had indicated on her driver's license that she wanted to be an organ donor.

Thus, the tragedy of Eckert's death led to the gift of life for several people. Eckert's liver went to a 48-year-old man awaiting a transplant. One kidney and her pancreas went to a 51-year old man; another kidney went to a 49-year-old woman.

And Eckert's heart went to Jessica Melore of Branchburg, who the year before had suffered a devastating heart attack as a 16-year-old and was living temporarily with a mechanical heart pump.
In the years since, Melore and the Eckert family communicated sporadically. But they'd never met, and never spoken, until Wednesday, when they came together at the Philadelphia offices of the Gift of Life Donor Program. They helped create a portrait of Eckert that will decorate a float devoted to organ donation in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year's Day.

"Over the past 11 years I always wondered what this day would be like," said Melore. Although it took a while to finally coordinate the meeting, "I never felt nervous, because when I thought of the Eckert family I always felt warmth," she said.

"Through Jessica, Shannon lives on," said Tammy Eckert, Shannon's mother. "She lives on. She lives on through the organ donation program."

Melore's saga began in 1998 when, as co-captain of her high school tennis team, she suffered the heart attack and then lived for nine months with the heart pump. Complications caused her to lose one of her legs to amputation.

Then, in July 2000 and October 2007, she was struck with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, partly because of her weakened immune system. She successfully fought it both times and has been in remission since January 2008.

Shannon Eckert's heart kept beating reliably through Melore's cancer treatments and her college education at Princeton, as well as the years she has spent as a motivational speaker and advocate for organ donation. She has appeared on Good Morning America, Dateline NBC and ABC Nightly News, among other television shows, and has been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers. Glamour magazine called her one of its Top 10 College Women of 2002.
Kidney saved many
PIONEERING DONOR FROM RUTLAND DIES

By Lee Hammel TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF


A man who grew up in Rutland and became a donor in what is recognized as the first successful kidney transplant 56 years ago died Monday from complications of heart surgery.

Ronald Lee Herrick, 79, of Belgrade, Maine, died in Augusta Rehabilitation Center in Maine with Cynthia Herrick, his wife of 51 years, and Virginia Griffin of Rutland, his younger sister, there.

Mr. Herrick hit the headlines when he donated a kidney Dec. 23, 1954, to his identical twin brother, Richard Herrick, in what the United Network for Organ Sharing recognizes as the first successful organ transplant. The 5-1/2-hour operation at what is now Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston kept Richard Herrick, 23, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, alive for eight more years.

The lead surgeon in the operation, Joseph Murray, won the Nobel Prize.


“This operation rejuvenated the whole field of transplantation,” Murray, 91, told The Associated Press in a phone interview from his home in Wellesley. “There were other people studying transplants in four or five different countries, but the fact that it worked so well with the identical twins was a tremendous stimulus.”

Donating an organ is never an easy choice, but the uncertainty facing Ronald Herrick, a U.S. Army veteran, was magnified by the fact that it was an unknown operation — not just for the donor who had to make the choice, but for the doctors who performed it.

Ms. Griffin said her oldest brother, Van Herrick, now of Barrington, R.I., said he wished to donate a kidney for Richard, who had nephritis, a disease that could be fatal. But doctors said that the best chance of success would be with Ronald, who underwent extensive testing to be sure he was an identical, not a fraternal, twin, so that rejection of the donated organ would not be a problem.

It was difficult for the entire family, Ms. Griffin said. “We wanted one brother saved, but we didn't want anything to happen to the other one, either. Nobody knew what the outcome was going to be.”

Ronald Herrick, a student at Worcester State Teachers College at the time, said, “My brother needs it to live, and I'll do it,” Ms. Griffin said.

“I never did hear him express reservations about it. Now, he may have had some — who wouldn't?”

But the night before the operation at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston — now Brigham and Women's — Richard thought better of endangering his brother. “You get out and go home,” he wrote in a note to Ronald.

Ronald quickly wrote back: “I'm here and I'm going to stay here.”

Richard left the hospital five weeks later with his brother's kidney and a relationship with Claire Burta, head nurse in the recovery room, and they were married in 1956.

In the ensuing years, Ronald was not one to talk much about his selfless organ donation unless someone asked him about it, said Cynthia Herrick. But he was asked about it and received the Massachusetts Humane Society medal for “outstanding courage” in 1955. He also marked the event with Dr. Murray at the 50th anniversary of the operation at the National Kidney Foundation 's 2004 U.S. Transplant Games in Minnesota and with a talk at a hotel in Copley Square in Boston.

Ms. Herrick met her future husband a year after the transplant. She lived in Marlboro and he lived in Northboro, but drove daily to a newsstand in Marlboro where he could get a Boston newspaper with horse racing results, she said.

They both were Worcester State Teachers College students and another Worcester State student who worked at the newsstand introduced them, because she knew Ms. Herrick needed a ride to school.

She and several other students who rode with Mr. Herrick paid him $3 a week to drive them. Ms. Herrick said the others eventually got their own cars, and it was just the two of them driving in, she said, but he continued charging her the $3, even after they got engaged.

A graduate of Rutland High School, which stood where the town library is now, Mr. Herrick taught math for 37 years at Northboro High School, Northboro Junior High School — across the hall from where his wife taught English — Algonquin Regional High School in Northboro, Winthrop Junior High School and Winthrop Senior School in Maine and at the University of Maine in Augusta.

He grew up on a family farm in Rutland and returned to his passion when he bought a farm in 1970 in Mount Vernon, Maine, cutting 20 acres of hay and raising up to 12 heifers at a time.

“We weren't the type to have big celebrations,” Ms. Herrick said. They celebrated their 50th anniversary with his sister at the LongHorn Steakhouse in Augusta.

“He was a wonderful man, a steadfast person, very smart, very kind, generous, very helpful,” she said. Added his sister, “He was a very good person, very kind, decent person who did things for other people and never expected anything in return.”

Organ donor numbers increase by 75% in a decade to hit record, Australia

Louise Hall | The Sidney Morning Herald



AUSTRALIA has more organ donors than ever after a $150 million funding package put transplant nurses and doctors in all big hospitals and encouraged families to discuss donation.

By the first week of December, 289 people had donated organs this year, 17 per cent more than last year and 75 per cent more than the record low of 164 people a decade ago.

Their donations meant 870 people received organs such as kidneys, hearts, livers and lungs.
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About 1700 people are waiting for a life-saving or life-improving transplants.

The medical director of the NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service, Dr Jonathan Gillis, said donation rates had steadily improved as result of the federal government's July 2008 reforms to tackle the relatively low donation rate.

Spain has the highest rate of donation, of 34 donors per million people, followed by the US (24) and Britain (15). The rate stands at 11 in Australia.

At a ceremony to mark the 1999th police escort given to surgical retrieval teams since 1984, Dr Gillis said the time it took to transport an organ from where the donor had died to the recipient patient was critical.

Highway Patrol and the Roads and Traffic Authority give the medical convoys a ''green light'' corridor to the scene, to minimise time stuck in traffic and the likelihood of accidents.

Emergency medical transports were introduced at the request of the heart transplant pioneer Dr Victor Chang, who died in 1991.

They usually take place between hospitals or between Sydney Airport and St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst.

"The increase in the number of organ donors has heightened the demand for urgent medical escorts," Dr Gillis said.

Brian Myerson, the director of the organ donation lobby group ShareLife, said while the increase in donors was welcome, a more important measure was the number of transplants performed. More organs could be harvested from donors who suffered brain death while in an intensive care unit of a hospital than from those who died from cardiac death.

Mr Myerson said the increase in donors over the past two years has been primarily made up of cardiac patients.
The heart of the problem

Professor Frank Rosenfeldt has developed a way to pump hearts awaiting transplant with nutrients to stop them failing.

Australia’s heart transplant program has been challenged by the donation of older hearts and the introduction of artificial ones, which result in more complex surgery when a real heart is later transplanted into the patient.

Professor Rosenfeldt is the head of cardiothoracic surgical research at The Alfred hospital in Victoria. His perfusion system keeps hearts viable for up to 12 hours — three times longer than The Alfred’s current safe ischaemic time — and results in them pumping blood more effectively than those kept in cold storage.

‘‘I’ve been working on preserving hearts, mainly for surgery, for most of my research life. I thought I would give this a try and it was amazing just how effective it was,’’ he said.


SAVING LIVES
Increase in the number of donors nationally
1989 – 231
1999 — 164
2008 — 259
2009 — 24
2010 — 289
The spirit of giving
By RHONDA SIMMONS  | The Star Exponent



As folks across the nation wrap up their holiday celebrations with family and friends, Boston resident Carolyn Sisksaid she knows the true spirit of giving: The gift of life.

The 56-year-old widow believes there’s nothing better than getting a second chance to live.

After more than two years of battling liver disease, Sisk endured liver transplant surgery at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville on June 6, 2008.

Now, the Loudoun County native, who is an organ donor, wants to encourage others to give back, too.

“Organ donation is so very important,” Sisk explained. “I’m not saying this because I’m a recipient, but because we can give the gift of life to someone who is in need. This is not only a blessing to the recipient, but also to their families, friends and the many other people that love them. It’s truly a gift that touches so many.”

A special gift

Sisk describes her story as a unique one.

“I was blessed with a donated liver when a co-worker/friend thought of me at a very difficult time in her life as her mother was passing away,” said Sisk, who also lost her husband, Jack, to lung cancer three years ago. “She told the doctors that she wanted her mother’s liver to be donated to me and praise the Lord, it was a perfect match.”

But there are so many others still waiting for vital organs.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing website — a non-profit agency that monitors the nation’s organ transplantsystem in real time — more than 110,300 people in the United States are waiting for life-saving organ transplants.

With the limited number of available organs, Sisk said, patients must first be “sick enough” to even be considered for the transplant list.

“And the more critical your medical need, the closer to the top of the list your name is moved, unfortunately however, way too many people die while they are waiting for a donated organ to become available,” said Sisk, who retired from the Virginia Department of Transportation after 27 years.

The purpose of the liver is to process carbohydrates, fats and proteins and store vitamins. It is also responsible for releasing bile to help digest fats, and breaks down toxic substances such as drugs and alcohol.

Giving back

Sisk learned about her need for a liver in February 2006.

Although, Sisk is a transplant recipient, she’s also able to donate her own healthy organs in the future.

“I’ve discussed this with my doctors and learned that there are organs I can donate, too,” she said. “I can never repay this friend or her family for their act of courage, but I can share this blessing I received with others.”

For instance, Sisk will be able to donate her own eyes, a kidney, heart, lungs and pancreas.

Dr. Kenneth Brayman, division chief of transplant surgery at U.Va., agreed, saying it’s absolutely possible for a transplant recipient to become an organ donor.

But it’s not likely for liver recipients, such as Sisk, to be able to donate the same organ received during surgery.

“It’s already scarred in and it would be technically difficult,” said Brayman, who did not perform Sisk’s operation, but provided his expert opinion about organ transplantation in general.

The donor’s family chose not to speak at this time.

Dr. Brayman, a founding member of the International Pancreas and Islet Transplant Association, and widely published author in several clinical journals, is also a proponent of organ donation.

“Organ donation is one of the greatest acts of human kindness that exists. If we have more donors in the United States, we wouldn’t have these long wait times,” said Brayman. “The sad thing about long wait times is people are dying while waiting for organs. Every day there are people who die because they couldn’t get a transplant.”

According to the Donate Life America website, an average of 18 people die every day from the lack of available organs.

Organ transplant experts say 90 percent of Americans support donations, but only 30 percent know the essential steps to become a donor.

Notify your family

Brayman also suggests donors discuss their donation wishes with their family members.

“Your family is pretty much the ones who will help make that decision (if) you have an accident,” Brayman said via Tuesday’s telephone interview.

In most states, organ donation can be published on a driver’s license.

Brayman suggests people do both: Include your donor wishes on your ID cards and inform your family members about your decision.

“You don’t want your family to think something differently than something you’ve signed up for. You want them to be on the same page,” he added.

Sisk agrees.

“By signing up to be an organ donor and sharing my wishes with my family, my family will not have to make that decision when I pass away,” she said. “I’ve given my family the peace of knowing my wishes and being able to comply with them.”

Meet Carolyn Sisk

Age: 56

Family: husband Jack Sisk, deceased, no children

Education: Rappahannock High School

Employment: Retired from the Virginia Department of Transportation after 27 years

Health: Received a liver transplant on June 6, 2008

Mission: To encourage others to sign-up for organ donation

Transplant trends

» U.S. resident on waiting list, 110,300

» Every 10 minutes another person is added to the national organ transplant list

» An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs

» Ninety percent of Americans support organ donation, but 30 percent know the proper procedures it takes to become a donor

Sources: unos.org and donatelife.net

Portrait of a heroine: Rose Bowl float honors organ donors' generosity, Memphis, Tennessee
By Richard J. Alley | The Commerical Appeal


Thomas "Tad" Daniel said his wife, Jill, used to talk a lot about organ donation. In fact, the ICU nurse for Baptist Memorial Hospital was adamant that, should anything happen to her, her organs and tissue should be donated in order to help others live.

"Usually it was on Friday nights when we'd get our night alone together, and if the weather was right, we'd sit on the back porch and listen to our music, and she brought it up several times," Tad Daniel said. "It wasn't even a decision for me; she made me promise her that I'd make sure her organs were donated."

Those wishes were carried out in September 2009 when 50-year-old Jill Daniel suffered several irreversible cerebral hemorrhages, leaving behind her husband and three children. In the end, the men and women with whom she worked so closely were charged with her care.

"It hits close to home, and it was very touching and very touchy, because it let us know that life is very precious and you never know when the Lord is going to call you," said Kim Gilley, an organ recovery coordinator for Mid-South Transplant Foundation, who worked with Jill over the years.

On New Year's Day, Jill's photo will adorn the Donate Life float in the Pasadena (Calif.) Rose Parade, as a way to honor her life-giving gift. The floragraph -- a portrait created with floral materials -- will be one of 60 memorial portraits representing deceased organ, eye and tissue donors. The theme of the float is "Seize the Day!" It will be decorated with kites, symbolizing "the opportunity seized to share laughter, sun, wind and the visual beauty of the moment." The float is scheduled to appear within the first half-hour of the parade, which can be seen at 10 a.m. on several channels, including HGTV.

On a cold December day in the Dr. H. Edward Garrett Sr. Auditorium at Baptist, friends and family gathered to remember Jill and to help decorate the floragraph.

The decorating project was begun in Pasadena by volunteers Judi and Dennis Sepulveda, celebrating the anniversary, 13 years apart, of their respective double-lung and liver transplants. Then it was sent to Memphis for completion.

"We want this not to be a sad occasion, but a joyous one," Kim Van Frank, director of the Mid-South Transplant Foundation, said of the memorial service for Jill.

Tad and Jill were together for 20 years, marrying one month to the day after they met. Their children, Melanie, 15, Charlie, 18, and Anna, 20, were on hand to assist their father in putting on the finishing touches and to listen to stories about their mother and her gift.

"Just to know that part of her is still here and ... able to help others," Anna said, is part of the healing process for her and her siblings.

Melanie is proud that her mother "has helped other people become organ donors."

"I was just overwhelmed," Tad said about first hearing Jill would be part of the Donate Life float. This is another aspect of keeping alive her memory in their home. "We talk about her like she's still around; it's still 'mom's car,' and she'll always be with us."

Jill's mother, Paula Womble, made the drive from Florence, Ala., to see the floragraph and was awed by the attendance. "I just can't believe it: her co-workers and people she worked with and went to school with. ... It tells me how much she was loved and the wonderful person she was."

Organ donation saves more than 28,000 lives every year, and more than 109,000 people await transplant, according to the Mid-South Transplant Foundation, the federally designated organ procurement organization serving West Tennessee, Eastern Arkansas and North Mississippi. Baptist Hospital's heart and lung transplant program is celebrating its 25th year.

Organ donation was a vital part of survival that Jill saw time and again in her work. On those Friday nights on the Daniels' back porch, she would talk about some of her patients' missed opportunities for donation. "She would come home and say, 'The patient I took care of was on the ventilator, and if they'd only been an organ donor, how many lives could they have saved?' " Tad said, "and (she) made me promise her that if anything ever happened to her, to make sure she was an organ and tissue donor."

"She was always very helpful, very pro-donation, which just spoke to the type of person she was, caring and giving," Gilley said. "She was always a great teacher and a great nurse, and I think that's why she made her choice a long time ago with the donor registry and signed up to be an organ and tissue donor. It's just a testament to her character and her integrity."