Saturday, April 30, 2011

Source: Donate Life Organ Donation Blog

What an amazing morning this was!  Thousands walked to honor organ and tissue donors and transplant recipients.  Enjoy the slide show .... we shall see you in 2012 for an even bigger event.

Please also join the Donate Life Run/Walk Facebook Fan Page to read about impressions, stories and view photos from our participants
10,000 walk to honor organ donors, new life

FULLERTON – The line of runners and walkers stretched longer than a football field as they massed Saturday morning for the beginning of the 9th annual Donate Life Run and Walk.

Among the crowd of participants totaling nearly 10,000 at Cal State Fullerton, each had a story to tell. Some celebratory. Some tragic. All filled with hope.

The event began in 2003, the idea of Kathleen and Craig Hostert of Fullerton. Kathleen had given her husband a kidney and they wanted to do something to spread the word about the strong need for organ and tissue donation.

Nine years later, the event has grown from a few hundred people to the nearly 10,000 it drew Saturday from across Orange County, as well as Los Angeles, Riverside and beyond.

Many wore T-shirts with the image of a loved one who, in death, had given organs and tissues that gave others a second chance at life.

Others participants were organ and tissue recipients, who came to walk in honor of their donors and celebrate their new lives.


Each year, mayors from several Orange County cities participate to raise awareness in their respective cities about organ donation.

For two of those mayors, the issue became unexpectedly personal.

Former Brea Mayor Bill Lentini and Greg Sowards, Placentia's mayor in 2009, each became ill after the first time they walked. Each received a life-saving liver transplant.

"It's humbling, extremely humbling to be back here as a recipient," said Lentini, 63, who received his transplant in 2007. "I've been signed up as a donor since I was 18 years old, but never imagined I'd be on the receiving end."

Lentini has never met the family of his donor. On Saturday, he made a straight line for the tent where donor families were checking in.

"I just wanted to give them hugs and say, 'Thank you,'" he said. "Who knows, I may have hugged the family of my donor."

Sowards, 62, was back at the walk after receiving his liver just last year.

"I got up at a council meeting to encourage others to come here," he said. "If anything, I want to use my position to let other people know they can help, too."

For Shelly Campbell, of Newport Beach, the annual walk is bittersweet. She walks in honor of her son, Brian Scott Campbell, who died 10 years ago while a senior in high school after falling and hitting his head while playing with friends.

Campbell said her son had told her just six months before his death that he wanted to be an organ donor. So his major organs and tissues were transplanted.

"It's the one chance each year that I get to see Brian's old friends. And that's fantastic," she said. "But it's also very difficult because I see them growing up and I wonder what he'd be doing now."

Greg and Jeanne Morales walked in honor of their son, Bryan, who would have turned 23 last week. He died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs three months ago. His organs and tissues were transplanted to help several recipients.

"It's a great feeling for us to be here knowing that our son helped so many people," his dad said. "More than 750 people attended his funeral and they all heard about organ donation.

"We want to keep spreading the word to honor him."

Heather Thommen, 51, of Placentia is a three-time liver recipient. When she heard about the walk, she decided to encourage members of her church, Yorba Linda's Messiah Lutheran, to help.

"We've tried to get out the message that even in hard time, if you can't give money, there are other ways to give," said the Rev. Bob Mooney, himself a tissue recipient to repair his badly damaged knee. So he helped organize a team that included 30 walkers and 20 volunteers.

"There are so many ways to make a contribution – even up to donating life," he said.


Ed Ortega has been walking each year since the event began.

The 59-year-old warehouse manager from La Habra had lost his mother and two sisters to kidney disease and his kidneys were failing, too.

He timed his dialysis treatments to ensure he could make the walk each year. Each year his team grew – as did his hopes that he'd finally get a kidney.

On Jan. 10 of this year, his kidney arrived. It was transplanted at USC Medical Center – across the street from the hospital where he was born.

"I'm back (at the walk) this year and I will be every year," he said. "I'm back at work, I feel great. I am a living example of why this is so important."

Friday, April 29, 2011

City of Mission Viejo Proclaims April to be National Donate Life Month

Asheville's Andie MacDowell found inspiration in 'The 5th Quarter
Andie MacDowell and Aidan Quinn co-star in "The 5th Quarter," shot in Winston-Salem. / Special to the Citizen-Times
Tony Kiss | Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE — Andie MacDowell hasn't made too many movies in North Carolina. But the Asheville actress didn't have to travel very far to shoot her latest feature, “The 5th Quarter.”

The football drama was made in Winston-Salem and on the campus of Wake Forest University. It's the true story of how the 2006 Demon Deacons football team was inspired to win its championship season by the tragic death of a promising young athlete.

The movie opens today at the Beaucatcher Cinemas in Asheville. MacDowell said she hopes the independently released film will find an audience, both as entertainment and for its subtle but important messages of organ donation and safe driving by young people.

“It's such a powerful story,” MacDowell said. “And it's a beautifully written script. I am hoping that people will be inspired by it. This is such an unusual and special movie. But it's so small and the economy has had an impact on smaller movies.”

While “The 5th Quarter” may lack a big budget for advertising and promotion, it's loaded with heart. It's centered around the car-crash death of young Luke Abbate, which ripped his family apart but ultimately uplifted his football-playing brother, Jon. The Wake Forest team rallied around Luke's memory and ultimately played in the 2006 Orange Bowl.

The Abbates were on the set as the film was shot, and that proved to be an emotional experience, MacDowell said. The strongest moment was probably a scene where the family agreed to donate their brain-dead son's organs and then followed him down a hospital corridor to say goodbye, she said.

As those scenes were shot, “that was a depressing month,” she said. “I would just go back to my room (after filming) and write poems.”

Beyond “The 5th Quarter,” MacDowell will next be seen in the comedy “Monte Carlo,” alongside young stars Selena Gomez and Leighton Meester, and then in the remake of “Footloose,” with Dennis Quaid, Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald.

“I think those films will be blockbusters, both of them,” she said. “It's good to be in movies with young people.”

MacDowell will also appear in the new TV series “Jane by Design,” on the ABC Family cable channel. Last year, she co-starred in the Fox series “Lone Star,” but the show was canceled after just two episodes.

“None of the stuff I shot was on ever on TV,” she said. “But I had a blast.”
St. Luke's Hospital recognized for organ donations
Last year at St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill, 13 patients gave 36 organs to 33 people and touched countless lives.

The success of organ donation at St. Luke's -- where more than 75 percent of eligible patients donate organs -- landed the hospital a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Medal of Honor. It is the sixth year in a row the hospital has won the award.

Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest has also won the Medal of Honor designation for organ transplant success.

The Gift of Life Donor Program presented St. Luke's with the award this afternoon in Fountain Hill.
"I'm proud to say that I think we've done very, very well,"trauma and surgical critical care doctor Michael Grossman said.
Grossman said he helped found the hospital's trauma center 13 years ago, and that the push for getting staff and others to buy into the serious need for organ donation was a slow, but rewarding process.

St. Luke's is the top referring hospital to the Gift of Life Donor Program in the region, according to nurse Richard Karasiewicz, who works in the trauma center.

Bill and Chris Hankee, of Heidelberg Township, have become organ donation advocates in the three-plus years since their daughter, Krysta, 22, died and saved five people through organ donation.
  • "It hurts and it helps," Bill Hankee said of knowing that his daughter's legacy continues in the lungs, pancreas, liver and other organs she gave after dying in New York City in 2007.
The Hankees met one of their daughter's recipients last year in Wisconsin. Christy Heart was given both of Krysta's lungs, Chris Hankee said.

  • "I said to her, 'I just want to hear you breathe,'" Chris Hankee said of the moment she met Heart.
Nationally, some 110,000 people are waiting for organ transplants, according to Gift of Life director of transplant services Scott Demczyszyn.

The Hankees said their daughter's gift has been difficult, but also rewarding.
  • "Thanks to people like you," Chris Hankee told the small group of doctors, nurses and St. Luke's staff gathered for the presentation, "Krysta's story does continue."
Sudbury celebrates organ and tissue awareness week

Organ recipients share their stories

By: Sudbury Northern Life Student
The Irish Heritage Club of Sudbury held a press conference April 27 at Tom Davies Square to inform the public about the importance of donating organ and tissue. 

The club will be hosting a Walk for a Second Chance, April 30 at 10:30 at Memorial Park. No donations are required, all are welcome to help join in the awareness of organ and tissue donations. 

Tony Sottile, publicity chair for the Walk for a Second Chance, explained that donating organs and tissue can save or enhance someone's life. “Your gift will give one in a thousand Canadians a second be healthy again.” Sottile said. 

Sottile explained that currently there are 50 Sudbarians who are on the waiting lists for organ and tissue transplants. He also explained that every three days someone in Ontario dies waiting for a transplant, and that currently there are 1500 patients in Ontario waiting for organs. 

Organ recipient, Joe Bacon explained that his need for an organ came very quickly and unexpectedly. 

Bacon explained that his mother was the best match for his surgery, so she donated her kidney to him in 1978. 

Since his transplant, Bacon says he has really enjoyed life. He is still grateful to his mother. “It's something that (I'm) grateful for everyday, no matter what.” 

Bacon said that his new kidney helps to keep him going; he camps and has “adrenaline experiences”, and explained that this following year he plans to go sky diving. 

He also said he encourages everyone to become organ donors. 

Louise Scott explained that the morning of December 16 she had a big decision to make. Her husband who had undergone a serious head injury was unable to recover. “Before (doctors) asked me, I told the them that we had to donate his organs, I felt that it was important that something good is gonna come out of this tragedy,” said Scott. 

Scott described her husband as a wonderful, giving, and loving man. 

She also said that through donating her husbands organs it has helped her deal with his death, “I know that there is some part of him out there,” she explained “ and that's good because he was a good man.”
Outstanding participation from Trillium Gift of Life Network's volunteers
TORONTOApril 29 /CNW/ - There are nearly 1,500 Ontarians waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, and every three days, one of them dies… simply because there aren't enough registered organ and tissue donors.
But hundreds of Trillium Gift of Life Network's volunteers have worked hard to change that and have surpassed all expectations for this year's National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week (NOTDAW). More than 160 "Life for 1500" events were held in 65 cities and towns this year, in recognition of the nearly 1,500 men, women and children currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.
Our local volunteer leaders — many of whom are also organ or tissue recipients, family donor members or patients in need of a transplant —gave generously of their time and resources.
"I always felt that volunteers were at the heart of our organization and today I personally want to extend my heartfelt thanks to them. "Life for 1500" could not have been a success without their dedication," says Frank Markel, President and CEO of Trillium Gift of Life Network. "Their efforts are certainly helping us spread the message about the need for organ and tissue donation and why it's so important for Ontarians to register their consent to donate. It saves and enhances lives," added Markel.
It is with sincere gratitude that Trillium Gift of Life Network recognizes the tireless efforts and commitment of its volunteers across Ontario.
Here's why some of them organized "Life for 1500" events for NOTDAW this year:
"Not so long ago, I was on the lung waiting list. I couldn't repay my donor family, but I could pay it forward by helping others on the transplant wait list. Along with other volunteers, we began to help our community understand organ and tissue donation needs by hosting "Life for 1500" events at malls, hospitals, schools and churches."
  • Carol Dubeau, double lung recipient and volunteer, Life Donation Awareness Association of Midwestern Ontario
"NAV CANADA has some employees whose lives have been touched by organ donation. As part of this National Campaign, we've decided to participate, knowing that one or even more than one person can be given a second chance at life."
Joanne Gaumond, Employee Wellness Advisor, NAV CANADA
"Our son saved four lives. The recipients of his organs have a second chance now. Every day that they're breathing, every day that they're laughing, it's because of Jonathon."
  • Heather Talbot, mother of Jonathon Talbot who died in 2009
"I was very touched by the number of Jonathon's friends that got back together and played a little table tennis at the event we organized at J.S. Woodsworth Senior Public School in Scarborough."
  • Terry Talbot, father of Jonathon Talbot
"It was a great weekend for Gift of Life! It was really special for the first seven qualifying Lions Clubs in District A-3 (Southeast Ontario) that were among the 50 clubs that participated, to be recognized for registering at least 50 per cent of their members as donors. Many registered Lions and family members were so inspired that they took consent forms home for other family members."
  • Mary Grace Amann, bone graft recipient and Lions Club A-3 District Chair of organ and tissue donation
You can register your consent to donate your organs and tissue by visiting your local ServiceOntario centre where you register or renew your health card. You can also register by downloading and filling out a Gift of Life Consent Form from and mailing it to the address on the form.
Even if you've already signed your donor card, please also register your decision so that this information is accessible when needed, and talk to your family about your decision.
For more details on Trillium Gift of Life Network, please visit our website or call (416) 363-4001 or toll free 1-800-263-2833.
Trillium Gift of Life Network is a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario and is responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating and supporting organ and tissue donation across Ontario and improving the system so that more lives can be saved.
1 boy, 4 lives saved
By Jim Planck
Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
PALENVILLE — As the month of April wraps up, a number of local people want you to know that doesn’t mean enrolling in the national organ donor program has to drop off simply because the month officially recognizing “April is Donate Life Month” is concluding.

Among them are Palenville resident Bob Stabile and his daughter, CHS graduate Cheryl Stabile-Toole, a Nurse Manager at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, at Children’s Hospital, in Boston, which cares for critically ill babies.

In the performance of her job, Stabile-Toole said Saturday that sometimes, and thankfully infrequently, she and her co-workers have the heart-wrenching experience of having to help a family say “good-bye” to their newborn child.

“As a nurse whose job it is to save, heal and comfort,” said Stabile-Toole, “these are by far the worst days.”
“Losing a child,” she said, “is a life cut tragically short for reasons that can never be explained in any rational way to those who love them.”

Such a parting came distressingly close, in fact, for Stabile-Toole and her own daughter, Avery Toole, back in 2009 when Avery was five years old, “slowly dying on life support,” said her mother, and noting it was Avery’s 52nd day on the heart transplant list.

Stabile-Toole said she was saved, however, after they received an early August, 2 a.m. phone call notifying them that the wait was over, and that a heart had been found.

“Avery was about to receive the only thing her Harvard educated doctors and nurses could never provide,” said Stabile-Toole, “a new heart.”

“Without this lifesaving gift, Avery absolutely would have died,” she said.

“Today she is attending Kindergarten,” said Stabile-Toole. “She is a breathtakingly beautiful little girl who is living life fully in every way.”

But how did this come about?

It was because the grieving parents of a terrific 8-year-old boy named Dalton Lawyer wanted their child’s wonderfulness to live on and help others — and for whom and for Dalton’s gifts the Stabiles, the Tooles, and the families of three other children saved by Dalton are forever grateful.

“Dalton Lawyer was a shockingly handsome boy,” said Stabile-Toole.

“He was idolized by his three triplet brothers, adored by his mom and dad, admired by his many friends, and,” she added, “appropriately swooned over by every girl who met him.”

“Dalton was a born leader,” said Stabile-Toole, “and was without a doubt destined to make an amazing mark in life.”

That life, however, was sadly, tragically cut short.

“On July 30th, 2009, at 6:29 p.m.,” said Stabile-Toole, “Dalton kissed his mom good-bye, yelled ‘I love you,’ and hopped on his bike to go watch his cousin at cheerleading practice.”

“One minute later,” she said, “he was hit by a truck as he left his driveway.”

Stabile-Toole said that after a week in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Dalton was sadly pronounced brain dead on Aug. 5.

Hours later, and hundreds of miles away, the phone rang at Stabile-Toole’s, and the news of Dalton’s gift of life was first heard.

Avery soon received Dalton’s life-giving donation, and his mark on life continued on.

“He left a legacy that would truly change the lives of many,” said Stabile-Toole.

“Dalton Lawyer saved three other lives through his extraordinary gift of life,” she said.

“His parents, in the absolutely worst moment of their lives, asked to donate their son’s organs, knowing there was no hope for anything else,” she said.

“Dalton Lawyer was eight years old and saved four lives,” said Stabile-Toole. “We love him, and he will be dearly missed forever.”

Stabile-Toole said the part not to be overlooked in all this is that organ donations are still needed, always needed, and always welcomed with love and gratitude.

“Every year,” she said, “hundreds of adults and children die waiting for a lifesaving gift through organ donation.”

“It is not something most of us think about for ourselves, and certainly not for our children,” she said, “and hopefully, you will never need to.”

“However, the painful reality is life is not fair, and tragedy does not discriminate,” she said.

“We are all vulnerable, and in many cases,” she said, “despite our best intentions, completely lack the ability to change them.”

“Register to become an organ donor today,” she said. “You, or the life of someone precious to you could be saved by this simple act.”

“Please don’t wait for the worst time in your life to make this decision,” she said.

Cheryl Stabile-Toole perhaps sums it up best.

“So,” she said, “I ask you — what’s your legacy?”
Hawaii Five-0 (Ma Ke Kahakai) Organ Donation Storyline - Get The Facts

On the 11th of April, CBS aired an episode of its hit series starring Donate Life Ambassador and Spokesperson, Alex O'Loughlin as Commander Steve Mcgarrett. In the episode, there was a subplot involving the black market procurement of Organs from China. During an exchange with his cousin, Kono Kalakaua, the character of Chin Ho Kelly is quoted as saying...

"Auntie got sick, and needed a kidney, 
but you know how hard it is to get on the donor list for a transplant here on the islands."


From the Hawaii Coalition on Donation Website:

Fact: The allocation of organs is determined by the United Network of Organ Sharing, UNOS , a nonprofit organization. From the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Website: 
How the Transplant System Works: Matching Donors and Recipients

Selected Quote:

"A person who may benefit from a transplant is referred by his or her doctor to a transplant center, which evaluates the patient. The transplant center runs a number of tests and considers the patient's mental and physical health, as well as his or her social support system. If the center decides to accept this
 person as a transplant candidate, they will add his or her medical profile to the national patient waiting list for organ transplant."

"The Talk"  CBS dedicates a tribute to mothers - 
May 2nd telecast features Carolyn Henry Glaspy, Chris Henry's Mom.

"The Talk" on CBS will dedicate a tribute to mothers as part of the "Moms Who Move Us" series, leading up to Mother's Day. The first show will feature LifeCenter Donor Mom and Volunteer Carolyn Henry Glaspy, mother of the Bengals Chris Henry who became an organ and tissue donor. To see this incredible interview, tune into CBS Monday, May 2, 2011 from 2:00-3:00 PM, ET. What a great opportunity to share the donation message and what Chris' gift means to so many.
97.1 AMP Radio

Donate Life Run/Walk And AMPTourage

 Donate Life Run/Walk And AMPTourage
Come and be a part of something amazing, the Donate Life Run/Walk Family Festival event Saturday April 30th  in the Intramural Field at Cal State Fullerton from 7am to 2pm. The AMPTourage will also be there to cheer the crowd with all the great music and give out even better prizes.
Donate Life run/walk and family festival slated for Saturday in Fullerton

FULLERTON - Participate in the Donate Life Run/Walk from 7 a.m to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Cal State Fullerton, 800 N. State College Blvd.

More than 9,000 people from across Southern California will participate in this event.

The walk inspires Californians to donate life by becoming organ, eye and tissue donors.

The family festival atmosphere includes special performances by American Idol season nine finalists Katie Stevens and Tim Urban and by Grammy award-winning pop/R&B group All-4-One, whose latest CD includes a song inspired in part by the founders of the Donate Life Run/Walk, Kathleen and Craig Hostert.

The morning-long event will begin with an opening ceremony at 8:15 a.m. and will feature a "Circle of Life Garden" with more than 100 photograph-bearing signs honoring donors and recipients.

Eight baskets of doves will be opened in memory of loved ones.

Registration fees for Donate Life Run/Walk participants are $30 for runners and walkers, $20 per living donor or recipient, $20 per person for families of four or more and $20 per person for teams of 10 or more.

There is no charge to attend the post-walk family festival.

For more information,

APR30Donate Life Run/Walk

KROQ will be at the Donate Life Run/Walk from 6am-noon today. Come help us in supporting the donor registry. We’ll be playing music and doing tons of give aways. Make sure you stop by! For more information, hit
The Gift of New Life
By Franke Santos  | Los Alamitos-Seal Beach PatchA Seal Beach man who received three organs spreads awareness about the need for organ and tissue donation.

Seal Beach resident Robert Scanlan wants people to know how profound a gift organ and tissue donation can be.

“If you had a million dollars that you wanted to leave to someone, you wouldn't have the impact you would by leaving a donation of your organs,” said Scanlan, 68. “You can leave a legacy behind that will change the lives of hundreds and thousands and untold numbers of people, and it costs you nothing.”

He should know. His own life was turned upside down in March 1998 when he suddenly became ill and his liver began to fail. His wife noticed that he was putting on a bit of weight in his midsection, an odd thing for such an avid jogger as Scanlan.

In the span of just a few weeks, he was transformed from a successful business owner, about to move into a larger office, into a transplant patient.

Luckily, two weeks later, he received a new liver.

In 2007, his liver again began to fail, and he received the gift of a new liver and a new kidney to replace the one ravaged by the anti-rejection medication he had been taking.

Scanlan is one of the many lucky people who have received organs through a donor. The city of Seal Beach recently issued a proclamation April 11, recognizing this month as Donate Life California Month.

Donate Life and its Southern California branch, One Legacy, are working to increase the numbers of people who are registered to donate. Drivers often register to donate when they renew their licenses at the DMV. (Those wishing to donate can also register on the Donate Life website.) Out of 26 million licensed drivers in California, 8 million are registered to donate, said Elena de la Cruz, spokeswoman for One Legacy.

However, despite that number, which is about 31 percent of drivers statewide, only a very small percentage will ever get the opportunity to donate, de la Cruz said. That’s because in order to donate, someone has to go through brain death, usually due to a head injury, stroke or an aneurysm.

There are a great deal of misconceptions around organ donation, de la Cruz said. One of the biggest misconceptions is that if you come into the emergency room and the staff know that you are a registered donor, they will not attempt to save your life, de la Cruz said. “It’s only when all [lifesaving] attempts fail that donation is taken into consideration,” she said.

Another misconception is that someone can be too old to donate. The oldest donor that One Legacy has seen was a 93-year-old man who donated a kidney, de la Cruz said. Even those who have suffered from diabetes or cancer, as long as they have been cancer-free for five years, can donate.

And the need is great, de la Cruz said. California has the largest waiting list of any state in the country, with about 20,000 people awaiting transplants. The majority of those, about 16,000, are waiting for kidneys.

Before going through his transplant experiences, Scanlan was an investment manager. He struggled financially and emotionally as he began to reconstruct his life after his first transplant experience. He suffered serious memory loss.

“It took years for me to not only regain the ability to do arithmetic, but to emotionally get through the concept that I'm OK,” he said. “Name, address and phone number on an application were like trick questions.”

After several unsuccessful attempts at working, he eventually became a salesman.

But after his second transplant operation, he reinvented himself as a life coach, something that a friend suggested after he went through his first transplant operation. In his practice, he focuses on helping small businesses through transitional periods and helps counsel those undergoing career changes.

He also volunteers to help people awaiting transplants. Until recently, he was the facilitator for the weekly support group for transplant recipients at UCLA hospital in Los Angeles and now does a great deal of public speaking to raise awareness of the need. To that end, he is participating in acharity run/walk to be held April 30 at Cal State Fullerton.

He is now writing a book to capture his experiences, tentatively titled Tigers Under My Bed: Life Lessons Tamed in the ICU Awaiting Three Organ Transplants. He wants the book to also encapsulate the importance of humor in crisis, his perspective shift after his transplant operations and attitude.

Echoing the way that Scanlan has used the gift of life, the impact of organ and tissue donation goes beyond just the recipient's life, de la Cruz said. “Not only is [a donor] touching one life, they're touching a family, a neighborhood, a community,” she said. “Really, the impact of donation is so profound in so many people’s lives.”
An inspiring tale of two brothers - Dave and Mike
by Henry Veneracion, Staff Writer | Downey Patriot
Pictured: Left to Right, Dave Hollon, Sister Laura, Mike Hollon
DOWNEY – Were it not for the selfless acts of two individuals – one, close to the subject; the other, a complete stranger – Dave Hollon’s life would have been seriously jeopardized some seven years ago.

Dave is the older brother of Mike Hollon, who was from 2004-2010 senior field representative for former and termed-out state assemblyman Hector de la Torre (D-50). The district covers the cities of Downey and Bellflower.

Mike has since joined Assembly majority leader Charles Calderon’s (D-58) team, also as senior field representative. The district covers the cities of Downey, Whittier, and the unincorporated neighborhood of East La Mirada.

The year 2004 was to prove pivotal for the Hollons. Among their filial bonds was the fact that the brothers had attended the same high school, Pius X. (By the way, de la Torre went there, too, a year ahead of Mike). Mike, a 1990 BA graduate of the University of San Diego (major in international relations) and holder of a 1992 MA (also in international relations) from Cal State Fullerton, was by this time living in Alexandria, Virginia and working in Washington, D.C. as a senior associate at Waterman & Associates, a government relations firms, when he traveled to California to donate a kidney to brother Dave. Dave was struggling desperately with diabetes and the disease was reaching a critical stage.

At the City Council ceremony on Tuesday (Dave’s birthday), presenting the brothers with a proclamation naming the month of April as DMV/Donate Life Month, Dave, who occupied center stage and, choking with emotion, summed up the story’s resolution: “I know [Mike] as the brother who saved my life. He is a hero [in my book].”

Mike’s rare visit back in California in 2004 was a defining one as well, but for a different reason. Here he recounts what happened: “The morning before the [kidney transplant] surgery, I met Hector (de la Torre) a longtime friend and prospective Assemblymember, for breakfast. He knew of our (referring to wife Sharon) interest in moving back to Southern California so our kids could grow up near their grandparents and extended family. He offered me a position on his district staff, and given my previous work in the field, it was a great fit. At first I was stunned by the offer because I was so preoccupied by the transplant surgery less than 24 hours later. But instinctively it felt right and it actually gave me something else to think about the night before the surgery.”

Mike joined de la Torre’s district office that same year.

In 2006, another crisis developed: Dave needed a pancreas transplant. The match found was that of a 16-year old girl, who had been killed earlier in an auto accident. She had donated her pancreas online. Dave issued the following tribute to her at the council presentation: “Now I’m a former diabetic [also because of her].”

Dave, a buyer for Boeing, has since become heavily involved in the awareness and fundraising efforts of the Donate Life California donor registry. The nonprofit, state-authorized organ and tissue donor registry is administered by California’s four nonprofit, federally-designated organ procurement organizations, each responsible for facilitating the donation process in the state—California Transplant Donor Network, Golden State Donor Services, Lifesharing, and One Legacy.

Its main message is to encourage everybody—young and old, regardless of age or medical history—to “support life-giving donation, a chance for neighbor to help a neighbor.”

As pointed out in the proclamation issued by the city council Tuesday naming the month of April as Donate Life Month and signed by mayor Luis Marquez, these are some of the reasons why people should give a donation:

*There are currently more than 100,000 individuals nationwide, and more than 20,000 are to be found right here in California, who are currently on the national organ transplant waiting list, with an estimated fatality rate of one every 90 minutes due to the shortage of donated organs;

*Millions of lives each year are saved and healed by donors of organs, tissues, marrow and blood (“A single individual‘s donation of the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and small intestine can save up to eight lives; donation of tissue can save and heal the lives of up to 50 others; and a single blood donation help three people in need”);

*More than 600,000 units of blood per year are needed to meet the need in California and at any given time, 6,000 patients are in need of volunteer marrow donors;

*The need for donated organs is especially urgent in Hispanic and African American communities;

“These organ, tissue, marrow and blood donations are life-giving acts recognized worldwide as expressions of compassion to those in need and the spirit of giving and decision to donate are not restricted by age or medical condition,” said the proclamation.

Also, nearly seven million Californians have signed up with the state-authorized Donate Life California Registry to ensure their wishes to be organ and tissue donors are honored.

(California residents can also sign up with the Donate Life California Registry when applying for or renewing their driver’s licenses or ID cards at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. An identifying donor sign is a pink dot.)

Mike Hollon has of course been a regular presence in Downey at council, chamber, and other association meetings, as well as at various community functions. His primary functions with Calderon, he says, focus on continuing my relationships with the members of community groups while interfacing on the district level with governmental and educational issues.

There is some Irish-Slovenia blood in him (on his maternal ancestors’ side) as well as Oklahoma Choctaw Indian blood (on his great-great great grandfather’s side). Born at St. Luke’s Hospital in Long Beach, his early formative years include his elementary schooling at St. Pancratius and high school years, as mentioned before, at Pius X here in Downey where he first befriended de la Torre and met his future wife, Sharon. (They reside in Fullerton with their two sons, Benjamin, 13, and William, 10.)

His government career actually began in D.C. when he worked in the legislative staff of Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) from 1993-1998. From there he moved to the private sector when he joined Waterman & Associates.

It was a chance encounter one day in an elevator in the Congressional offices when he bumped into former schoolmate and old friend de la Torre, who had been there a year ahead of him, and was occupying an office on a higher floor than his.

Meanwhile, come this Saturday, April 30, a major event in the Hollons’ calendar is the annual 5K Run/Walk sponsored by Donate Life California, to be held at Cal State Fullerton, where it all began in 2002.It is meant to bring together all those who have either been recipients of organ donations, members of survivors’ families as well as those who have expired, the gathering of information on the subject, etc. By a happy coincidence, it also happens to be Mike’s birthday.

In a press release directed specifically to Downey residents, and issued prior to Tuesday’s proclamation, Dave was quoted as saying that “I hope all residents of Downey will be motivated to make the commitment to donate life and to sign up on the registry.”

The event is also meant as a tribute to those who, like Dave Hollons, lived to tell about their everlasting debt to organ transplant donors.

For more information about the registry, the process, and how donations save and improve lives, you are urged to visit or
Liver transplant survivor organizes walk/run to encourage organ donation
By Janet O'Neill | Redding Record Searchlight

It was a year ago May when Amy Bourke, the mother of two small daughters and after-school director at McCloud Elementary School, started feeling tired.

"I thought it was the flu and I went back to work," said Bourke, a lifetime resident of the small Siskiyou County community.

She postponed seeing a doctor because she didn't have medical insurance. Finally she relented, enduring multiple tests and doctor visits. Her liver was identified as the culprit.

But the day came when she couldn't even lift her head. After an emergency room visit in Mount Shasta on June 6, she was flown to University of California San Francisco Medical Center. After that, things get fuzzy.

"I just remember thinking, what the heck is going on?" said Bourke, 34. She lapsed into a coma, and her husband was summoned June 13 to "sign papers."

But the next day, she received the gift of a lifetime — a new liver. All she knows is the donor was a 50-year-old man.

"Literally, when they took my liver out it was 100 percent dead," she said. "If my donor had not come that night I would have died the next day."

Doctors never learned the cause of her sudden liver failure.

"I'm not a drinker and I've never been sick before," she said.

She left the hospital June 24. It was cool in San Francisco.

"The air just felt so amazing," she recalled.

"I just cried the moment it touched my face."

Saturday will be a celebration of sorts, as Bourke and a team of supporters — 27 as of midweek — will do the 5K Donate Life Run/Walk, McCloud style. The 9-year-old fete will draw an estimated 9,000 people to Fullerton the same day.

Until this year, no one had organized a small version of the event.

"Amy reached out to us," said Paula Valle, a spokeswoman for the Fullerton celebration. Proceeds from the $20 per person event go to the Donate Life California Organ and Tissue Donor Registry enrollment campaign, Valle said.

To join Saturday's walk, just show up at 9 a.m. at McCloud Elementary.

Meanwhile, Bourke has settled in to her new life.

"I'm doing pretty good, actually," she said Wednesday. "I have to be extremely careful when it comes to germs."

She takes medication four times a day and has changed the way she eats, steering clear of sodium and fat. She walks every day.

In the beginning, two miles was her limit. But on Tuesday, "I did it," she said. "I made the whole 3.2 miles. It was a very incredible moment for me."

Over the past year, the people of McCloud have rallied behind her, husband Jarrod and their daughters. They've donated blood, and held bake sales, yard sales, a dinner and auction.

"My community and my friends have been truly amazing to me," Bourke said. "Everybody here is definitely family to me."

Reflecting on the past year still brings tears.

"It' been a big adjustment for all of us," Bourke said. "It's definitely opened all our eyes on how precious life is. But really, until it happens to you, you don't really get that. I honestly think I've been given a second chance at life and it's the best gift anybody can give you."

To learn more about the registry, go to

If you go

WHAT: 5K Donate Life Run/Walk

WHO: Organized by McCloud liver recipient Amy Bourke

WHERE: McCloud Elementary School

WHEN: 9 a.m. Saturday

WHY: Proceeds from $20 donation go to Donate Life California Organ and Tissue Donor Registry enrollment campaign
Mother of Organ Donor Meets Heart Recipient for First Time
After 17 years, a North Texas mother meets the woman who received her daughter's heart for a transplant.
The 33 News

Inside Fort Worth Harris Methodist Hospital on Thursday, two woman were waiting.

They had never met before, but 17 years ago, they were connected for life.

Amy Austin-Kinler needed a heart transplant.

"I had 10 percent of my cardiac output left. And, I was dying," Austin-Kinler said.

At the same time and in the same hospital, Irene Curtis' daughter, Diana died from a brain aneurysm at the age of 31.

Curtis made the life-saving decision to donate her daughter's organs.

'When you die," Curtis said, "your soul leaves and then your body`s just gonna waste away. And, some other people can live. And, I think she saved a whole bunch of lives.'

One of those lives was Austin-Kinler's.

"It`s a new lease on life," she said. "It allowed me to be able to marry my junior high school sweetheart. It allowed me to be a productive member of society, to see the rest of my family. It`s meant the world to me to be able to function like a normal person and not a sick invalid.'

After nearly two decades, Curtis met the recipient of her daughter's heart, for the very first time.

"It's a miracle from God," Curtis said. "I know it is a miracle, because I just never dreamed that day would come. I hate to say that she sounded like Diana, but you know, I feel like I've known her all along."

Austin Kinler said it was very important to her "to put a name with the heart that beats inside my chest."

The reunion was arranged by Life Gift.

"We tend to reunite a lot of donor families with their recipients," said Life Gift Spokesperson Laura Frnka. "By meeting the person or persons that receive the transplants, it just gives meaning to that person's life that they lost."

"I hope they do it more often," Curtis said. "There's more people like us that want to meet, but they never get together."
BC Transplant benefit inspires guests: Live Life. Pass It On.
By Colette | 65 Red Roses
Last night six of us from the Hello Cool World outreach team attended BC Transplant‘s screening of65_RedRoses at the Ridge Theatre in Vancouver. We arrived early with our usual bag of tricks—postcards, posters, DVDs of the film—along with a carefully constructed media wall designed by HCW’s Bella Sie using our signature photo of Eva (by Cyrus McEachern) which formed our back drop for the photos below.

HCW’s Kat Dodds and Jorge Amigo along with Rebecca Peel and I greeted guests as they arrived while HCW’s Michelle Reid snapped photos. You can check out the event album below! Bella, who recently sprained her ankle was on crutches so she tended the table and talked about #4Eva – The Movement for Organ Donation and sold DVDs and posters, the proceeds from which get reinvested back into the Movement.

Allison Colina and Mary Pappajohn of BC Transplant set up a beautiful display of the Live Life. Pass It On. campaign materials which were from a BC Transplant commissioned art project that Eva Markvoort and her friend Cyrus McEachern collaborated on with real life organ recipients including Eva herself as models. Eva, the talented artist she was, painted the anatomically accurate organs on the models and Cyrus–a medical student and close friend of Eva’s–took the photos. The images are now part of a province-wide awareness campaign promoting organ donor registration.

Look out for the Live Life. Pass It On. posters around the city and if you see one, snap a pic, email it to us and tell us where you found it. We’ll post it to our #4Eva Tumblr account where we’ll be visually documenting the #4Eva Movement.

At 7:30pm, once guests had settled into their seats, Penny Clark-Richardson, Director of Organ Donation & Hospital Development at BC Transplant thanked the audience for coming out and supporting their cause and introduced Amanda Poch, a 32-year old women and liver recipient whose image also appears in the Live Life. Pass It On. campaign. Amanda shared her personal and touching story about being diagnosed with liver disease in her mid-twenties. A dancer and active young person, she talked about how hard it was to accept the disease at such a young age when you’re living a healthy active life and supposed to be invincible.

When Amanda went into liver failure and slipped in to an 11-day coma the only chance she had of surviving was receiving a new liver. Just hours away from not making it, Amanda received a compatible liver and five years later is here to talk about it and encourage people to register as organ donors.Amanda talked how inspiring knowing Eva was and an at how she jumped at the chance to be part of her and Cyrus’ art project. Like everyone touched by Eva hopes to help continue #4Eva legacy.

After the film Nimisha Mukerji co-director of 65_RedRoses said a few words and announced that they are currently working on a new version of 65_RedRoses for the Oprah Winfrey Network. 65_RedRoses will air on OWN later this year in the US as part of Oprah’s new ‘doc club’ series. The new version will have an updated ending which will include Eva’s passing and how her legacy lives on.

All in all, the evening was a success and the message that Eva felt so passionately about rang clear—become an organ donor and save lives…or as BC Transplant so eloquently puts it “Live Life. Pass It On.”

If you missed the film last night, you can purchase the DVD off of our Hello Cool World site. If you’re interested in hosting your own community screening feel free to drop me anemail or check out a screening page here.