By Angela Bender For The Naperville Sun
“Edward Hospital is one of the hospitals proven to have the right stuff,” said White, “They have done a great job in the area of transplants, and we wanted to come to their wonderful facility and applaud, commend and thank them for their giving and caring spirit and for making a difference in the lives of a lot of individuals.”
Last year, Edward had 38 eye donors, six organ donors and 20 tissue donors, according to Patti Ludwig-Beymer, Edward’s chief nursing officer. The Naperville hospital has partnered with Gift of Hope and the Illinois Eye-Bank to assist them in their mission to increase donations. To help achieve that mission, Ludwig-Beymer chairs a team consisting of nurses, physicians, spiritual care and other hospital employees who work on getting the word out to Edward staffers about organ and tissue donation and providing proper information to be shared with potential families of donors.
Edward Hospital’s own family has also been personally affected, both as donors and recipients, by organ donation. A nurse at Edward was the recipient of a donor kidney. And, separately, both a physician and a nurse at the hospital have lost loved ones in traumatic situations, both making the decision for organ donation.
“It takes a lot of generosity to make that decision,” Ludwig-Beymer said.
White also knows from personal experience that it can be difficult to discuss organ donation with a grieving family. In 1985, his own brother was on life-support, suffering from an aneurysm when a member of what is now Gift of Hope asked the family if they could use his organs for transplant purposes if he passed away.
“I said don’t bother me, don’t bother us, leave us alone,” said White. “I didn’t think much of what I said to the gentleman.”
White’s brother passed away that night and was buried with all of his organs. A few years later, White’s sister became ill and was in need of a kidney. She was put on the organ and tissue donor list and eventually received a donor kidney. Since then White has been active in getting the word out about organ and tissue donation. When White became secretary of state 13 years ago and realized that the organ donation program was a function of his office he “jumped for joy.”
“I sing the praises of this organ and tissue program because it is really designed to give life or improve upon the quality of life for an individual,” said White.
By the Numbers
25 The number of people who can be helped by the organs and tissues from one person
5,000 The number of people waiting for organ transplants in Illinois
300 The number of people on the waiting list who die each year
5.7 million Names on the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry
To sign up to be an organ donor visit www.lifegoeson.com or call 880-210-2106.