Thursday, June 30, 2011

Forwarding Organ Donation Viral Video to Nine Friends Could Save 80 Lives
I'm A Donor, He's A Donor, She's A Donor... Are You A Donor?

NEW ORLEANS, June 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System and the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA) have unveiled a viral video aimed at increasing the number of organ donors in the United States. In a nod to the long-running 1970s Dr Pepper commercial "I'm a Pepper", the video is titled "I'm a Donor" and features costumed organs and real-life transplant recipients following a Pied Piper-like Donor as he travels through Audubon Park, the French Market and historic Jackson Square.


More than 110,000 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S.

Because ONE organ donor can save the lives of up to NINE people, Ochsner asks the public to join the effort by checking out its fun music video on YouTube at OchsnerHealth and registering to become an organ donor at Donate Life. Then forward the link on to NINE friends and encourage them to become donors too!

On average, 144 people are added to the nation's organ transplant waiting list each day

"Organ donors are true heroes who have saved and enhanced lives through organ, eye and tissue donation," says Dr. Ana Hands, Director of International Health and Transplant Services, Ochsner Health System. "Organ donation shows no boundaries. Ochsner has cared for transplant patients from Louisiana to Saudi Arabia and from ages 10 to 70. It only takes a few minutes to register and the impact is tremendous."

Nearly 20 people each day die unnecessarily because there are too few organ donors

"Every day, our goal is to increase the awareness of organ donation and sometimes it takes an unconventional approach to get the public's attention," says Kirsten Heintz, Director of Development, Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency. "Ochsner and LOPA hope the "I'm a Donor" video will help us reach and educate a broader audience and encourage new donor registration."

Approximately 80 organ transplants take place every day in the U.S.

"For some, a better understanding of organ donation is needed to make this choice more comfortable and gratifying," says Hands. Below are some facts that dispel many of the most common myths:

Fact: When you're in the hospital, saving your life is the number one priority of doctors and nurses.

Fact: Even if you're under 18, you can make your wish to become a donor known to a parent or guardian.

Fact: There is no defined age for organ donation; organ function instead of age is evaluated at the time of death.

Fact: Organ and tissue donation will not interfere with an open-casket funeral.

Fact: Most families say that knowing their loved one helped someone else, helps them through their grieving process.

Fact: Organ donation is consistent with the beliefs of most religions.

Remember, please watch the "I'm a Donor" video at OchsnerHealth and register to become an organ donor at Donate Life. Then forward the link on to NINE friends and encourage them to become donors too!

For more facts about organ donation, please visit

Ochsner Health System is southeast Louisiana's largest non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system with eight hospitals and over 38 health centers in Louisiana. Ochsner has been named the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 15 consecutive years and is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a "Best Hospital" across seven specialty categories. Ochsner employs more than 12,500 employees, over 850 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts over 300 clinical research trials annually. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Dallas kidney recipient embarks on unprecedented, nationwide bike ride

Beginning on July 4 - the anniversary of his transplant - Dallas Man David Landsberg will bicycle in all 50 states.

DALLAS — Riding a bicycle for 50 miles in 50 states over 50 consecutive days with a single transplanted kidney sounds like a one-way ticket to the hospital. But don’t tell that to David Landsberg, a Dallas man who’s about to undertake the ride of his life.

“It is 50 days in a row, which is insane. It is a pretty crazy event on paper,” Landsberg said about the trek. “To do it 50 days in a row will be incredibly fatiguing. But 50 is also the number of lives you can positively effect being an organ donor.”

David Landsberg, middle, is joined by his transplant physician Dr. Lu, on left, and Dr. Sagalowski, his surgeon. The three hadn't been in the same room since his surgery more than 10 years ago.
David Landsberg, middle, is joined by his transplant physician Dr. Lu, on left, and Dr. Sagalowski, his surgeon. The three hadn't been in the same room since his surgery more than 10 years ago.

From the moment Landsberg begins talking about the task, it's clear that his heart is about to write the proverbial check his body shouldn’t be able to cash. A kidney transplant recipient himself, the 52-year-old Landsberg takes the task of spreading the word about the importance of organ donation very seriously.

Landsberg’s ride will begin July 4, but it actually started about 14 years ago when a genetic disorder called polycystic kidney disease, or PKD, caused him to go into renal failure. From it, he lost both kidneys.

While waiting for a new one, Landsberg spent his days getting his blood cleaned via dialysis and then recovering from the nauseating treatments. “You only have a few good hours a week on dialysis,” Landsberg said. “But, I am thankful for it.”

Landsberg said there were days when his blood pressure would drop so low that he would crawl to the kitchen and chug a bottle of soy sauce to keep himself from fainting. Despite all of this, one day he got tired of “just surviving” and decided to bring awareness to those like himself who were living their lives waiting for an organ transplant.

David Landsberg
Posted by Flickr user theSODA
David Landsberg
“I did the Tom Landry Triathlon as a publicity stunt with no kidneys and no spleen,” Landsberg said. “That began my whole campaign to spread the news about the need for donors.” After completing that feat in 1999, he followed that up with an Ironman Triathlon in November of last year.

The biggest challenge for Landsberg during his 50/50/50 race will be monitoring his nutrition levels while he rides in conditions he’s never experienced before, said his coach Debbie Leslie-Minier. Landsberg is on immuno-suppressive drugs designed to keep his body from rejecting the kidney, and he constantly has to monitor his blood sugar.

“I think what he's doing is amazing,” Leslie-Minier said. “The event in itself is incredibly hard. For anybody, [riding] 50 states in a row [has] a huge cumulative effect. And his system is already being taxed at a greater-than-normal rate.”

In addition to losing both his kidneys and spleen, Landsberg said he has also survived a bout with skin cancer and broken his back twice.

So why does he seem so determined to complete a 2,500 mile trek that will tax his already-depleted system? “I feel like I'm on a mission from God. ‘He’ wants to save lives,” Landsberg said.

Landsberg has also started a foundation called the Society for Organ Donor Awareness (SODA) to bring to the forefront statistics like these: An average of 18 people a day die waiting for an organ transplant.

“Ultimately, I want organ donation to be so common so that no one ever dies from needing a transplant and everyone is a donor,” Landsberg said. “Then I can shut SODA down.”
Rhinelander Family Meets Receiver of Wife's Heart
Source: WJFW Newswatch 12 | Lane Kimble

Minneapolis, MN - Kim Messenger was with his wife the day she died.

"We didn’t get the miracle we wanted," Kim said.

Karen Messenger died at the age of 41, leaving Kim and his sons to face the difficult decision of donating her organs.

But Kim says Karen made it easy for them, having told him just weeks prior she wanted to be a donor. "I knew her wishes and when that doctor and that nurse on January 4th sat us down, we had our two sons with us. I said, ‘Boys you know what mom wanted. She wanted to be an organ donor.'"

Two years later and after months of letters and phone calls, Kim drove to Minnesota to meet Felicia Frenchwood, the woman who received Karen's heart.

"I knew the heart was going to be the hard one, but I knew the spirit she had, it’s just like the spirit Karen had," Kim said. It was wonderful. It was just fantastic."

"I just really couldn’t believe it," Felicia said.

"I was like, ‘Am I really going to meet them? And I was just, kind of leery seeing them and them seeing me. They have pictures of me, but just meeting them face to face was really just nervous for me.”

Felicia says she now speaks at high schools and other places, telling people how important it is to donate.

"You really need to donate, Felicia said.

"Because when you take it with you, where are you taking it? When you can actually help someone else and give someone else another chance at life. I’m grateful for that.”

Kim echos Felicia's philosophy and says he too preaches the importance of organ donation.

"It’s easy, it’s simple and it just takes the burden off the family at that very, very difficult time in their life."

Even with Kim's outlook on life, it is impossible for him to not look back. But he says his wife still gives him the strength to go on.

"It’s very tough. But, I feel Karen’s there every step of the way to get me through it, you know?"

For more information, click on the link below. 
Wisconsin Donor Information

GIFT OF LIFE: Donating vital organs
BY KARMINA LOPEZ | The Queens Courier

Fausto Armenta, a 20 year old Mexican, was considered by his older brother, Juan Armenta, to have a big heart. And it’s precisely that noble heart that now offers a new opportunity at life for a 7-year-old child.

Organ donation remains a taboo subject in the Hispanic community, but thanks to decisions like the Armenta’s family of donating their loved one’s organs, others may survive and lead a full life.

"It was a painful decision that I was not ready to make," said his brother John. "I was hoping that my brother would recover."

According to the New York Organ Donor Network, in the United States, about 110,000 men, women and children are waiting for organ transplants, of which over 20,000 are Hispanic. However, according to the same network, there remains a desperate shortage of organs and tissue donors.

While donating the organs of a loved one can be very heartbreaking, John added, "Part of me knew it was the right decision. The hard part was convincing my parents. "

At age 14, Fausto crossed the border from Mexico to the United States with his brother to seek a better life. However, on the morning of May 30, the young man was found unconscious on a street in Queens and later declared brain dead by doctors at Elmhurst Hospital.

"The police have not given us any information about his death," said his brother John. "We do not know if it was racism, an accident or revenge, as he was severely beaten."

Upon hearing the tragic news and hospitalization of their son, Fausto's parents were able to travel to this country thanks to a humanitarian visa. However, doctors at Elmhurst Hospital reconfirmed that their son was brain dead, and possibilities of recovery were slim, so they decided to remove the respirator that kept him alive.

"Thanks to organ donation his parents had more time to say goodbye," added Joel Ortiz, a friend and roommate of John and Fausto. "I convinced Fausto’s parents to donate his organs. I had the terrible experience of losing a loved one due to lack of donations. With the organs of my friend, one angel helped saved another angel. "

According to the law, hospitals in New York are required to notify the New York Organ Donor Network of all deaths or imminent deaths. Therefore, the Armenta family made the decision to donate.

"If he had been in my situation he would have done the same thing," John said. "I feel good about my resolution because my brother will always be with me."
Donate Life Missouri
Source: Crazy Cool With a Side of Crafty

Imagine spending your afternoon connected to a dialysis machine. Or resigning from your job because you can no longer see. Or being confined to a bed because your heart just doesn’t work like it should.
Right now, 1,686 Missourians are waiting for life-saving organ transplants and hundreds more require life-enhancing bone, eye and tissue transplants. By making a pledge through, you tell the world you wish to give the gift of life to these individuals.
Can You be a Donor?
One of the things we at Donate Life Missouri hear most at donor drives is “I want to be a donor, but I can’t be because I have diabetes…cancer…poor eyesight.” The truth is – if you don’t have a communicable disease like HIV or hepatitis, you may be able to be a donor in some capacity. While guidelines for organ donation are stringent due to age, blood type, etc., those for bone, tissue and eye are a bit more lax.
In fact, we recently spoke with a family whose nine-year-old son gave sight to two individuals after he passed away from a brain tumor. Said his mother, “We felt like what happened to us was so tragic, but from day one we looked for the good in the situation. If there was anything we could do for someone else, we would do it.”
Making the Pledge
Pledging to be a donor is super simple and takes just five minutes! Plus, recent changes in the law have placed the final decision to donate in your hands. In 2008, Missouri became a first-person consent state, meaning your legally documented decision will be honored, and your family won’t be faced with that choice should something happen to you.

How do you know if you’re on the first-person consent registry? Check your license – if there’s a heart symbol, you’re one of the 2,850,000 generous Missourians who have made the pledge.

No heart symbol? Here’s the run-down:

· If you registered to donate before August 28, 2008, you’re on the donor registry, but you have not given first-person consent. The decision to donate would be left to your family.

· The next time you renew or obtain a license at the DMV, you’ll be asked to join the first-person consent registry. If you say yes, a heart symbol will be added to your license.

· Don’t want to wait until your next license renewal? Head over Here, you can make your pledge, select which organs and tissue you wish to donate, and note if you want your donation to go research as well as transplantation. If you join online, you’re on the registry, but your license will not reflect this wish until the next time you go to the DMV and say “yes” to donation.

Even with first-person consent – and I can’t stress this enough – talk to your family about your decision. You’ll not only reinforce your final wishes, you may encourage others to join you in the mission to save life.

To learn more about donation, please check out If you do not live in Missouri but would like to get more information about organ and tissue donation please visit

Thank you Nicole Plegge for writting this post. Nicole works for Heartland Lions Eye Bankas well as a pop culture blogger for St. Louis Kids Magazine. Oh and she is a super cool mama friend of mine. Wanna see how this Mom Roll then you should check out her blog. Or you can find her on Twitter too.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chance meeting through Richmond wrestling program leads to gift of life
By Andrew Benoit, Voice Staff Writer

With the recent meteoric success of the Richmond wrestling program, both home and away matches can be a hot ticket. Such was the case in December of last year when the Richmond B team made the trek from Richmond to Caro to take on the previously state-ranked Caro Tigers.

With the weather turning nasty, many Blue Devils supporters chose to car pool for the 140 mile round trip. Jeff Olko was preparing to take off for the trip when Bob Davis asked if he and his family could jump in for the ride. It didn't matter that that the two had never met before, just that they were both going to cheer for the Blue Devils.

The two got to talking during the 90-minute car ride and found out they had quite a bit in common. They were both similar in age, both married, and both had an oldest son and two younger daughters. There was, however, one major difference. Olko had been receiving dialysis treatments several times a week for almost a year because of a condition called IgA nephritis. First diagnosed in 1986, Olko's conditioned had worsened to the point that he was in serious need of a kidney transplant.

Davis immediately showed concern and began asking what was needed for a kidney transplant and how someone went about finding a donor match. Olko explained that first a blood test was needed followed by several other diagnostic tests to determine a potential match. Despite having only met earlier that day, when Davis found out the two had the same blood type he said something that truly surprised Olko.

"He said 'how would you like an early Christmas present,'" Olko said.

That was the moment the two men formed a bond that will likely be shared for the rest of their lives.
United by wrestling and faith "I was dumbfounded," Olko said. "I thanked God and, of course, I thanked Robert."

Olko's place on the Michigan organ donor registry likely would have had him waiting for several years for a donor or cadaver match. A simple twist of fate, and a community bound by a powerhouse wrestling program, was all it took for Olko's future to get a whole lot brighter.

"It took Bob, who was a complete stranger, but we're united by the Richmond wrestling program," Olko said. "It's surreal to me and I can't believe it's happening."

For his part, Davis said after realizing they were a match, he never really contemplated not giving up his kidney. Davis said he and his family re-committed themselves to their church, and he said that has helped him recognize 'God moments.'

"I think I had a God moment that I was put there for a reason for this man," Davis said. "It was something I thought God was telling me to do."

Davis has a few more tests to undergo before the doctors can schedule a surgery date, but at this point the transplant is tentatively scheduled for sometime near the end of July or the beginning of August. With the reality of the situation finally setting in, Davis is not having any regrets.

"I was very excited to do it. I'm still excited that I have the chance to give a man his quality of life back. A father needs to be there for his kids and a husband needs to be there for his wife," he said.

Davis said the men have formed a good friendship and call each other on a weekly basis now to talk about their lives and families. Despite the severity of any organ transplant surgery, both are optimistic about the outcome and are already looking forward to the future.

Olko, who previously operated a business, said he intends to go back to school to become a dialysis technician. He said his current treatment has inspired him to want to help others going through a similar ordeal.

"It's easy for a technician to tell a patient they'll get better in a few months but it's not very comforting. I can tell people I know what you're dealing with," Olko said.

Olko also said he has learned that in some transplant instances, the recipient takes on some characteristics of the donor.

"I hope I can take on some of his characteristics because he's such a good person," Olko said.

With the heart of summer descending, the wrestling season is still quite a few months away. That's OK with Olko, he said, because it will give him enough time to recuperate and get back to 100 percent by the start of the season. Although Davis' son, Mike, recently graduated, Olko's son Nick will be entering his sophomore year and has three years of wrestling left in front of him.

Ironically, within the Richmond wrestling program there isn't anything signifying that fateful day in December except a W in the win column for the Blue Devils; but it was the car ride to that match that will forever be remembered by two proud Blue Devil parents and their families.


Advocate Condell Medical Center dedicates wall recognizing organ
By Advocate Condell Medical Center submission 
Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville has dedicated a Legacy of Life Wall to honor patients who have saved lives through organ donation.

Nearly 20 families were invited to participate earlier this month in the private dedication of the wall, which lists the names of the donors and the dates of their gifts.

The Legacy of Life Wall commemorates those who have died, but whose legacy lives on in others. Some saved a life or lives through organ donation. Others made a lasting impact on those around them, inspiring family and friends to make a charitable gift to Advocate Condell Medical Center in their memory.

Organ donor family members had the opportunity to view the wall and then listen to remarks from Advocate Condell Medical Center President Dr. Ann Errichetti and Raeann Fuller, manager of Advocate Condell’s ICU.

“This event, and this wall, is to give thanks and remember the donors for their lifesaving gifts. We thank you for helping us honor these men and women,” Errichetti told the families. “We hope this is as special to you as it is to us.”

Two years in the making, the wall is located in Advocate Condell’s West Tower, also home to a Healing Garden and a new chapel.

“It is an honor and our privilege to have met all of you and share in a difficult time in your life,” Fuller said. “Out of tragedies do come some blessed events. Each of your loved ones is living on.”

Fuller was recognized this spring by Gift of Hope with a 2011 Lifesaving Partner Award for addressing the critical need for organ and tissue donation.

In October 2010, she was selected as a Regional Champion by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network for her efforts to facilitate organ donation and transplantation. The network operates under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“We plan to continue to honor patients and families on that special honor roll,” Fuller said.

Advocate Condell partners with Itasca-based Gift of Hope, which provides donation education and coordination of organ donations throughout Illinois.

More than 4,700 people are waiting for organ transplants in Illinois, according to Gift of Hope, which is the federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation and services to families of donors in the northern three-quarters of Illinois and northwest Indiana.

Photo: Advocate Condell Medical Center President Dr. Ann Errichetti and ICU Manager Raeann Fuller cut the ribbon earlier this month to formally dedicate the Legacy of Life Wall.

Singer brings miracle story to Edmonton Jazz Fest
Alex Pangman singing again after double lung transplant


EDMONTON — Alex Pangman sings vintage jazz with her own voice — but with someone else’s lungs.

Her story is one of perseverance, life riding on a coin flip, but, above all, on beautiful, undying Depression-era music. The young Toronto musician — playing the Yardbird Suite on Tuesday night — was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a baby, yet has lived her life to its fullest — riding horses competitively, stoking her singing career and having her first album produced by the legendary Jeff Healy in 1999. But her body insisted on its own destructive agenda.

“By my 30s, I basically whittled away to about 25 per cent,” she says over the phone from Victoria.

The walls were closing in. At that point, Pangman and her songbird voice had won Songwriter of the Year honours at the National Jazz Awards and a Genie for a performance in the period film Falling Angels. Her hard work touring and recording in the style of classic American singers had earned her the name Canada’s Sweetheart of Swing. She’d even joined a swinging country band.

But she kept her illness a secret. “I didn’t think it was very romantic to have a jazz singer who was spitting up blood in the corner,” says the redhead. “I’d been pretty handicapped for my last few years, using an oxygen tank. My world had become really small, and while I could still sort of sing, it was becoming increasingly clear that I was racing towards the finish. I didn’t want anyone to know.”

A double lung transplant is an extremely hard choice for anyone to consider, never mind a singer just a few years into her career.

“The subject was brought up very slowly over several months —- you have to get used to the idea. Denial and anger. The doctor said, ‘You have a 50-per-cent chance of being alive in two years.’ I thought, I don’t know how long I’m going to be on the list. And the odds of survival are not very good. But quite frankly, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was sick of being scared of every breath and fighting all the time. My life had been winnowed away to a shadow.”

The surgery took place in 2008 in Toronto. Someone Pangman will never know saved her through organ donation of a set of lungs. As she puts it, “you gave me everything.”

Asked if she made promises to herself if she survived, she submits: “My deal was I was always really private about my health, but if I got through this, I would be public about my help so that I could inspire some change and raise awareness. It’s really important you speak to your family because they’re the ones that sign on the dotted line (to donate an organ).

“My ability to breathe and make music was taken from me over many, many years, slowly. That in the space of an eight-hour surgery, all of a sudden I could sing again and I could complete my MO — which was to get out there and live life and make music and have a band and enjoy — it’s crazy. It’s the big things but it’s also the small things, being able to run up the stairs, it’s just a miracle.”

Her cadence even expanded. She can sing deeper now.

Another way Pangman is giving back is with her music. Her latest album, 33, is sparkling and timeless, its songs picked from those popular in 1933. “As much as I like the music from the 1930s,” she laughs, “I’m really glad I wasn’t born then.” Indeed, she wouldn’t be here today.

Pangman worked on the album last year when she was 33, meaning she can continue this age-and-year pattern indefinitely — an album of Second World War songs when she’s 42, a psychedelic tribute when she turns 67 and in her 80s, she jokes, “Yeah, Cyndi Lauper! I’ll be glad to be that old!”

Next up, Pangman will release an collection of songs she did with American guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli. “He’s just a gem. I don’t know if I want to release it as an EP or get him back in the studio. He actually just recorded a record with Paul McCartney so the stakes may have been raised.”

In the end, like her music, the singer is straightforward about it all.

“It’s not a cure, but it’s a treatment, it’s a last option, but like you say, without it I wouldn’t be here. People with chronic illness have to be positive and have to be fighters. I went to university for art and art history and I didn’t really want to do that. Something within got me to go out and do what I wanted to do, to sing. I had always wanted to do the jazz festival circuit, but my illness was pretty chronic and I just couldn’t do it. Now, I’ve not only been able to live my life again, but I can make art again.

“We were standing onstage last night in Victoria and we had a standing ovation and I was like, ‘Pinch me!’ Who knows when the meteor’s going to drop or you’ll get hit by a bus! Get out there and do what you like doing.”

Concert Preview
Alex Pangman and the Alleycats
Part of: The Edmonton International Jazz Festival
When: Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Where: Yardbird Suite, 11 Tommy Banks Way
Tickets: $15 through Tix on the Square (, 780-420-1757

The Passing of Jeff Hedrick

Dear Donate Life Community:

We at OneLegacy were privileged to have the opportunity to know, work with, and be inspired by Hospital Services Coordinator, Jeff Hedrick who passed away on Saturday, June 25, 2011

As a liver transplant recipient, Jeff brought a humble passion to educating and inspiring our hospital partners to appreciate the value of donation, and he did it simply by living his life fully and doing his job well. Therefore, it is not surprising that his hospitals were regularly high performers, early adopters of Flag Raising and Rose Dedication programs, and committed to partnering with OneLegacy in our common mission of saving lives and helping families. Jeff was grateful for the extra years he received…we are grateful for the opportunity to share some of them with him and his family, and we are saddened to say goodbye. Our sympathies go out to his family and his friends.


Thomas Mone
221 S. Figueroa Avenue

Suite 500

Los AngelesCA 90012

C: 424-298-0229
O: 213-229-5604


Local child gets life-saving heart transplant
Source: Eyewitness News 9

GREENVILLE, N.C.- It would be any parents' worst nightmare- knowing your child might not live to see their first birthday. One mother from Greenville experienced just that, but two weeks ago her nine month old baby girl received a life-saving heart transplant. Nine on Your Side's Andrea Blanford went to Duke University Hospital in Durham where every tiny heartbeat is a huge triumph.

It's amazing how strong you can be when you have to.

"She's a strong little girl,” said Latlisia Faison. “I would never imagine that a child could go through as many things as Bobbi went through and still plays and enjoys her day like nothing has ever happened to her."

Latlisia Faison's daughter Bobbi was born last September with Hypo Plastic Left Heart Syndrome- there was only one pumping chamber in her heart. "When we first saw Bobbi, she was very ill, on a ventilator, very sick and it appeared that she was declining rapidly,” said Bobbi's surgeon Dr. Jake Jaquiss.

He says it's a common heart defect, but Bobbi's malfunctioning heart was not strong enough to keep her alive. "We would have said measured in weeks maybe months at most,” said Jaquiss.

Carolina Donor Services spokesperson Dwaine Cooper says a new name goes on the organ transplant list every ten minutes. Sickness does not discriminate. Cooper says the need varies from the elderly to the very young, and anyone in between. "When I speak to high school students, I tend to let them see that your peers are waiting too," he said.

Cooper says usually someone waiting to receive a life-saving transplant has to wait one to three years but little Bobbi only had to wait six months.

"June 13 we get a call that they had a heart for her and that was the most amazing moment knowing that my baby had a second chance of life,” said Faison.

It's a bitter sweet realization. "When we transplant a baby that means someone else has lost a baby,” said Jaquiss. And it all happens in less than work day. Cooper says the heart has the least amount of survival time outside the body- only four to six hours between recovery and transplant surgery. "They're at the height of their grief because they've lost a loved one but then on the end of that realm you have a family at the height of elation for having received the gift of life in such a short span of time."

"I already knew that there was a purpose and a plan for her,” said Faison.

Even a surgeon says it's miraculous how resilient children like Bobbi can be. "If they're given a chance and supported, even children who are inches from death can recover completely and have a very normal quality of life,” said Jaquiss.

With every heartbeat, doctors say Bobbi is getting stronger. "It's amazing,” said Faison.

Carolina Donor Services statistics show about 18 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant. Right now in North Carolina, there are more than 3,500 patients waiting to receive the gift of life.

If you would like to learn more about how to donate, just visit this link for Carolina Donor Services:

Record-breaker Robbie strikes gold at World Transplant Games
By: Michael Tracey 

A COURAGEOUS Laois teenager snatched a brace of gold and silver medals as well as breaking a world record in thrilling circumstances at the World Transplant Games last week.

Putting in an incredible performance at his first-ever World Transplant Games, Robbie Lyons from The Swan won one gold and two silver medals and became the new world record holder in the 1517 years age category for the long jump event with a 5.30m jump.

Robbie (17), a kidney recipient, said he was absolutely delighted to have achieved so much at his first ever transplant games.

Speaking after his successes, Robbie said: “I am delighted with the win, but really no words can describe how happy I feel. I love when the competition is tight; it makes me push myself harder.”

The Heywood Community School student also raced in the 100m sprint, which proved a riveting contest.

Robbie got off to a great start, but Lewis Akrail from the UK was hot on his heels. The Irish representative put everything he had into the last few metres and won silver after what was a very close and exciting race. There was four hundredths of a second between the Irish and British competitor.

Robbie’s mother, Angie, and sister Stef have been great support throughout the games. Speaking to Angie, who was filled with joy and emotion, she explained how happy she was: “I am extremely proud of Robbie and I feel like a well of emotion, especially after everything he has been through. Before the race, I gave him the space he needed to focus and prepare, but I was waiting with open arms at the finish line to give him a big hug,” she said.

The Irish team members have all received major organ transplants including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas. The Irish Kidney Association is responsible for managing Transplant Team Ireland’s participation at the games.

For organ donors freetext DONOR to 50050.
Philadelphia ‘Gift of Life’ Program Honors 5 Living Kidney Donors
Source: CBS Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A celebration in Philadelphia this evening acknowledges a series of five kidney donations in which the donors are alive but not related to the recipients.

Most organ donors are deceased, since most organs are one per customer. But we each have two kidneys, which Howard Nathan (below right), president and CEO of the “Gift of Life” donor program, says are sometimes shared.

“More and more, friends and neighbors are giving,” he notes, “but now there’s this new phenomenon of people just wanting to do some good for their fellow man and giving their kidney to someone else.”

Anne Peniazek is the person who started this five-way act of generosity. Her kidney went to a stranger. Someone close to him, but incompatible donation-wise, in turn gave a kidney to a second recipient. And so on.

But Peniazek was simply not in the mood to take much credit.

“I truly don’t think it’s a major big deal to do. Why not?” she said today, although she admits hers is a minority view: most people do find it a big deal.

Doctors Reaffirm Support For An 'Opt Out' System Of Organ Donation, Scotland

Source: Medical News Today

[Tuesday 28th June 2011] reaffirmed their support forthe introduction of a system of presumed consent for organ donation following a debate at the British Medical Association's (BMA) Annual Representatives Meeting in Cardiff.

Under presumed consent [1], also known as an opt-out system, all people are assumed to be willing to donate their organs unless they have opted out. The BMA reaffirmed its support by defeating a motion [2] which called on the Association to reconsider its policy.

Recent figures published by the Scottish Government report that the number of Scots on the organ donor register is at an all time high, with 1.8million signed up to save a life. However last year there were only 67 organ donors in Scotland, while more than 600 people are still waiting for an organ. Sadly many more die before they even reach the waiting list.

Dr Sue Robertson, a renal physician and member of the BMA's Scottish Council, said:

"Every year people die whilst waiting for a donor organ and evidence from other countries has shown that a system of presumed consent can address the shortage of donor organs and can save lives.

"It is important that an individual's views on organ donation are taken into account following their death. Repeated surveys indicate that up to 90% of people are in favour of donating organs after their death, yet organ donation rates remain disappointingly low.

"Following the implementation of the recommendations of the organ donation taskforce in 2008, the NHS introduced a more robust system to support organ donation, but now is time for the Government to take the next step. A system of presumed consent will create a system whereby the wishes of the individual can be taken into account and will increase the number of organs available for transplant.

"The BMA believes that a 'soft' opt-out system would better reflect the views of the majority and unless an individual had registered an objection to donating their organs, or if the family were aware of any objection, the default position would be to donate.

"In the meantime, however, it is vital that people talk to their loved ones about their wishes and discuss openly their views on organ donation so that, should such a decision be necessary, individual's views can be respected."

*A 'soft' system of presumed consent

The BMA supports the introduction of a 'soft' system of presumed consent in which relatives' views are also taken into account. Instead of being asked to consent to donation, they would be informed that their relative had not opted out of donation and unless they object - either because they are aware of an unregistered objection by the individual or because it would cause major distress to close relatives - the donation would proceed. Donation would therefore become the default position.

The motion debated (and defeated) read as follows:

That this meeting calls on the BMA to reconsider its policy on presumed consent for organ donation in view of the experience in Spain, where the evidence shows that presumed consent has had no effect on organ donation rates.

BMA Scotland
Exclusive: RCA Removes Its Executive VP
Source: Failed Messiah
Rabbi Basil Herring – the man most responsible for the Rabbinical Council of America's bad conversion deal with Israel's chief rabbinate and for the RCA's biased and error ridden white paper on organ donation – has been pushed out of his leadership role by the RCA's new, more moderate elected leadership.

A source close to the situation tells me Rabbi Herring has been forced out as Executive VP, primarily because of his failures related to the conversion issue and organ donation.

In recent years, the RCA had shifted to the right, and Herring played to that shift willingly. Modern Orthodoxy became "Centrist" Orthodoxy, and those to the left religiously were no longer made to feel welcome.

Ultra-Orthodox demands with regard to conversion and organ donation were accepted. Converts and those needing transplants suffered.

The RCA's image suffered as a result – and so did Modern Orthodoxy.

But recent elections brought new, moderate leadership to power and Herring is now out.

This is decidedly good news for converts and for Jews who value Modern Orthodoxy, either as a chosen lifestyle or as a buffer to the increasing extremism of ultra-Orthodoxy.
Vermont Man Honored with National Award of Excellence for Organ Donation Advocacy

Award of Excellence for his extraordinary volunteer efforts in promoting organ donation for more than two decades. The award was presented during the June board meeting of the Organ Procurement Transplantation Network and United Network for Organ Sharing (OPTN/UNOS) in Richmond, where UNOS is headquartered.

“Jim Carter is a man with a mission,” noted Jeffrey Orlowski, chief executive officer of the Center for Donation and Transplant, the organ procurement organization which submitted the nomination. “Jim is a donor father who has spread the word about organ donation throughout the Vermont region for many, many years to thousands of people. We could not ever cover as much ground as Jim has with just our organization’s staff,” he said.

Almost 21 years ago, Mr. Carter’s daughter Andrea, then a 17-year-old high school student, died after the truck in which she was riding was hit by another vehicle. She was not wearing a seatbelt. Knowing how caring their daughter was, Jim and his wife, Sue, consented to donation. Andrea’s heart, kidneys, liver and corneas were all recovered for transplantation. Following Andrea’s death, Mr. Carter became involved in support groups for donor families and recipients as well as providing community outreach and education programs. His two main themes: the importance of seat belt safety and the life-saving benefits of organ donation. To date, he has given thousands of presentations during drivers’ education classes, traveling throughout Vermont to ensure that young people are properly educated about donation. In addition, he has appeared in numerous news articles promoting organ donation.

“I never get tired of talking about Andrea and about donation,” Jim says. “The act of donating meant a lot to me and my family, and the feedback I get from my volunteering makes me feel like I am really making a difference.”

The National Donor Memorial Award of Excellence was established in 2010 to recognize exceptional advocates for organ and tissue donation, especially “unsung heroes” who have not received recognition at a national level for their efforts. Nominations for the award were sought from all of the organ procurement organizations in the United States. For this year’s award, 19 nominations from around the country were received. All nominees received a certificate of recognition.

“Selecting one winner from all the nominations was a challenge, because each candidate is an awesome reflection of the thousands of people ‘paying it forward’ in this country,” commented Mary Nachreiner, OPTN/UNOS vice president for patient and donor affairs. “It is humbling to see how much these people – most of them donor family members – give of themselves to support the mission of the transplant community. They – and thousands more like them – are truly lifesavers,” she said.

UNOS is a private, non-profit organization linking all members of the organ procurement, transplantation and histocompatibility communities. It administers the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network under contract with the Health Resources and Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. UNOS provides the OPTN with a functional, effective management system incorporating the UNOS Board of Directors, committees and regional membership structure to operate OPTN elements and activities.

The National Donor Memorial, supported entirely by private and charitable contributions, honors organ and tissue donors and their families who have saved and enhanced the lives of others through their generous gifts. The Memorial includes a 10,000-square-foot garden on the grounds of UNOS’ headquarters as well as a website,, which currently displays more than 1,000 tributes from family and friends of organ and tissue donors, transplant recipients and others touched by the donation experience.
After loss, Balloonfest bittersweet
Written by | Jason Carmel Davis | Livingston Daily

A recent loss made this year's 27th annual Michigan Challenge Balloonfest a bittersweet event for the Bresett family.

After years of crewing for a number of pilots at the Howell festival, 22-year-old Stephan Bresett in February lost his battle with kidney disease.

"Being there without Stephan was pretty hard," said his mom, Gabriele Bresett.

The Bresetts often helped John and Shawn Raya, who this year piloted a balloon named Fast and Serious. Shawn Raya serves as pilot of the balloon now that his father, John Raya, has given up flying, Gabriele Bresett said.

The Rayas' former balloon, aptly named Father and Son, was retired in Stephan's honor, according to Gabriele Bresett.

"Both families have a deep connection with each other. We care about each other outside of Balloonfest," she said. "We've gone to weddings and funerals with the people we've met at Balloonfest.

"Saturday was a really emotional day. We were all crying. That was an awesome gesture."

The Fowlerville family — Stephan, Gabriele, Stephan's father, Ray Bresett, and sister Melanie Bresett — attended the event for years.

Ray and Gabriele Bresett began crewing for pilots during the show in 1987, according to Gabriele Bresett. When their children were old enough, they offered their assistance to hot-air balloon pilots, as well, she said.

Gabriele Bresett said they got involved with Balloonfest through the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce and were involved with the show for a long time.

That involvement stopped when Stephan's kidney troubles began to worsen about four years ago, she said. The eldest Bresett child battled kidney issues his entire life, Gabriele Bresett said, but not a lot of people outside the family knew because he wanted to keep the fight a secret.

"He was on the list for a transplant for about four-and-a-half years while we looked for donors," she said, "but nothing ever became available."

Someone else may get the transplant they need, though, as another Balloonfest participant,Shelby Township resident Robert Lykins, has offered to collect pop-can tabs in a fundraiser for the Gift of Life Michigan Organ and Tissue Donation program, according to Gabriele Bresett.

Gift of Life Michigan is the state's only federally designated organ- and tissue-recovery program, providing all services necessary for organ donation to occur in Michigan. The nonprofit organization works all over the state as a liaison linking donors, hospitals and transplant centers.

Once the tabs are collected, they're taken to a recycling center and weighed to determine their value, Gabriele Bresett added. The funds will then be given to Gift of Life in Stephan Bresett 's honor.

"He did this before and collected about 250,000 tabs for a group in New York," said Gabriele Bresett, a First National Bank employee.

Pop tabs can be dropped off at any Livingston County First National branch.

Theda Clark honored for achieving 51 percent tissue donor rate
Source: The News-Record

When Daphne Hankey walked into the Trauma Center at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah nearly two years ago, she faced a parent's worst nightmare.

She learned her teen son, Mitchell, was severely injured in an accident. Knowing her son wouldn't survive, Hankey found a way to make sense from the accident by donating his organs and tissues to help other patients.

"I wanted to find some sense in the tragedy," Hankey said, adding she never talked with her son about organ or tissue donation and hadn't thought about it until Theda Clark staff raised the question.

"They were very sincere and compassionate, explaining how we can take what he had and help someone else."

The American Tissue Services Foundation (ATSF) has honored Theda Clark's efforts to provide families with donation options and information. In 2010, 28 donors from Theda Clark helped between 1,400 and 2,100 people.

Theda Clark achieved a 51 percent tissue donation rate in 2010, which means tissue was recovered on 51 percent of the medical center's eligible donors. Hospital staff also received training in tissue donations from the ATSF and sponsored a community event to promote organ donation.

Sue Broeren, who oversees the organ and tissue procurement program at Theda Clark, said staff members are trained about the importance of organ and tissue donation and how to compassionately raise the issue with families.

"Organ donation is not usually top of families' mind, so staff members consider that and explain how other patients and families can be helped by saying yes," she said.

While donations of organs, such as the heart, liver or kidneys, attract more attention, Broeren said donations of tissue, such as bone, skin, heart valves and veins are just as important.

"These types of tissues are used in more than 1 million surgeries every year in the United States," she said.

Many more people are eligible to be tissue donors, said Jeannette Potts, ATSF education and development manager. While organ donation usually takes place when brain death occurs and transplants must be performed within a short time afterward, tissue can be removed within 12 to 24 hours of death and be preserved for later use.

"Through its dedication and focus on increasing donations, Theda Clark has made a tremendous difference in the lives of others," Potts said. "Donated tissue gifts save lives, as well as increase strength, mobility and independence for many patients."

As for Hankey and her family, they still grieve Mitchell's death, but take comfort knowing how other families have been helped.

More should pledge to donate organs, Malaysia

By Aida Ahmad  | The Star

THERE are 169,224 Malaysians who have pledged to donate their organs and tissues as of May this year.

Out of this figure, only 327 have donated their organs after their deaths since 1975.

Public Awareness Action Committee on Organ Donation chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said it was a challenge to get more people to be organ donors.

“It is more difficult for those who pledged to successfully donate their organs because of family objections,” Lee said.

He urged organ donors to inform their family members and next-of-kin on their decision.

“When the donors die, the family members are unaware of the pledge.

“So there is much objection and in the end the donation will not take place,” Lee said at the Health Education and Health Awareness (Heha) campaign organised by the Federal Territory branch of Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) at the Mid Valley Convention Centre recently.

The aim of the campaign was to educate and create awareness on public on health issues.

Also present were MMA Federal Territory branch chairman Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz and Heha organising chairman Dr Koh Kar Chai.

The event also saw the attempt for entry into the Malaysia Book of Records for the “Largest Number of Organ Donation Pledges”.

The organisers, however, only managed to get 103 pledgers during the two-day event.

“While they may have fallen short, it was still encouraging to see people volunteering to be organ donors,” Lee said.

According to the National Transplant Resource Centre, those aged between 21 and 30 are the biggest group who have pledged to donate their organs.

Lee cited religious and general misconceptions as the reasons for people refraining from signing up for organ donation.

“Kidneys are in high demand now because there are more than 22,000 people undergoing haemodialysis as a result of renal failure in the country,” he said.