Friday, September 30, 2011

Celebrating Organ, Eye and Tissue Donations

WLIX New 10 | Fay Li

On Thursday, hundreds gathered at the State Capitol for the first celebration of organ, eye and tissue donations.

“I was definitely on the road to not making it and a donor’s heart saved my life,” said Kevin Pontz.

Pontz received a heart transplant late last year. He’s not only an organ recipient, but also the family of a donor. Two weeks ago, he lost his wife to a brain aneurysm and subsequently a car crash. She donated her organs and saved the lives of four people.

“It gives us some calm relief to know that she saved other people,” Pontz said.

Thursday’s “Donate Life Capitol Celebration” included hundreds of donor family.

Politics at play in the gift of life, Australia

The Age - Australia | Kate Hagen

When Michelle Minchew dies, it's all up for grabs. Heart, lungs, liver, kidney, eyes - whatever can help others. She hopes to die in a way that makes it possible to donate her organs, which would mean ending her days on a ventilator in hospital.

Her brain would have shut down, the result of a severe injury such as might occur in a car accident or stroke. Or she would have an illness she could not survive, with her heart sure to stop once life support was removed.

Only 1 or 2 per cent of Australians die in one of these ways, with organs healthy enough to be of use to others, and Minchew would consider it a privilege. ''Talk to the young ones and say, 'Are you an organ donor?' and they say 'yes', there's no issue. The older ones can be a bit more hesitant. I just want people to be informed.''
Read more:

First Lady McDonnell to take part in the Virginia Transplant Games

Richmond Virginia Events

The first ever Virginia Transplant Games will take place in Richmond this Saturday. The event was created to help increase the number of Virginians in the donor registry run by Donate Life Virginia, an agency overseen by the Virginia Department of Health. The games consists of transplant recipients and living donors competing in Olympics-like events. One of the participants will be Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell.

“I am privileged to be honoring the families of donors; their sacrifice is the ultimate gift… life,” said the First Lady in an interview with RVANews. First Lady McDonnell’s sister, Ellen, is a lung transplant recipient. Ellen first told McDonnell about the games. Shortly after being informed of them, “I received an invitation from Donate Life to ‘open the games,’ says McDonnell. “I was honored to accept.”

The ambition of Donate Life is to increase the education level about organ donation, as well as the number of registered donors. It is a coalition of organ procurement organizations, eye banks, transplant centers, as well as others who want to strengthen the state’s various organ donor services.

“So many people lack an understanding of organ donation, and I strongly encourage Virginians to better educate themselves on how important donation is,” says First Lady McDonnell. “My sister is alive because of a donor; their lungs are working hard for her with every breath she takes, and she is so grateful.”

McDonnell is especially appreciative of the doctors who performed a lung transplant on her sister, Ellen. “They’ve allowed me more time with the sister I love, and blessed us with another beautiful morning to walk 5K’s together for the 1st Annual Transplant Games.”

The games will feature events such as a 5K run, shotput, bowling, table tennis, among others. The events are open to the public, and will take place throughout three locations: Clover Hill High School, Midloathian Family YMCA, and King Pin Lanes. Tickets to attend all events are free.

“Transplant recipients have been given the gift of life,” says McDonnell. “They are excited that they have the chance to live and work and be productive again.” The first lady is rather fond of a line often spoken by her sister, Ellen:

Don’t take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here.

(You may register to become an organ donor on the Donate Life Virginia website)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Growing Body Parts

CBS New York | Dr. Max Gomez

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (CBS 2) – Right now there are more than 112,000 Americans waiting for an organ transplant and many will never receive one.

But what if a doctor could grow replacement organs and body parts in the lab — from your own cells?

As CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez found out, it’s already being done.

Luke Masalla looks like a pretty normal 20-year-old, but he’s part of a very unusual club.

Luke’s bladder was grown in a lab.

“I was in kidney failure and my bladder was sending fluid back up into my kidneys and damaging them,” Masalla said.

Luke’s own bladder didn’t work properly because he was born with spina bifida and his doctors were out of options.

That’s when Luke’s parents took him to see Dr. Anthony Atala who proposed a science fiction-like solution — grow a new bladder.

Amputee takes on fast walk challenge to raise awareness for organ donation Scotland

STV | 
Ronnie McIntosh, from Dundee, had both his legs amputated after suffering from kidney failure due to rare autoimmune condition.

An amputee is completing a series of fast walk challenges to raise awareness of organ donation.

Ronnie McIntosh, from Dundee, suffers from a rare autoimmune condition called Sjogren's Syndrome.

It led to kidney failure and ultimately resulted in the amputation of both of his legs.

Before he became seriously ill in 1993, he was a successful marathon and fell runner.

Now the 61-year-old is taking part in several ‘race walk’ events to call for more organ donors.

Shooting victim saves grandmother's life

NBC Chicago | Phil Rogers
Antonio Johnson was on the front porch with his family when he was struck in the head by the bullet on Sunday.

As Chicago police search for the killers of a 15-year-old boy on the west side, his family sits at the bedside of his grandmother, who was given a new lease on life because of the shooting.

Antonio Johnson was killed in a flurry of bullets Sunday evening as he sat on the porch of his home in the 700 block of North Springfield. His mother was wounded in the drive-by attack.

Johnson had previously talked about his hope to offer a kidney to his maternal grandmother, who was, herself, a victim of gun violence 20 years ago.

“He said, 'Fine. It’s OK. It’s cool. I’ll give her one of mine,'' recalled the boy's grandfather, R.C. Wardlow.

And he did.

Read more and learn about the unusual twist:

2011 Virginia Transplant Games - October 1, 2011

CBS 6, Richmond VA

Director of LifeNet Health, Andrew Mullins, and organ donation recipient Gail Farmer join us with details on this weekend's first Transplant Games in Virginia and how you can attend.
Glee's piano man Brad Ellis will be at the closing ceremonies

Oklahoma mom mourns daughter killed in car crash

The Oklahoman | Tiffany Gibson
Photo: Bryan Terry
Family members mourn the loss of Kaylee Hilton, a 23-month-old girl who died Saturday at OU Medical Center from injuries suffered in a car crash last week in Midwest City.

The mother of a 23-month-old girl who died Saturday from injuries suffered in a car crash said her daughter's organs have saved the lives of three people.

Ashley Hilton said her daughter Kaylee Hilton's heart went to a baby in Illinois, her liver went to a baby in Texas and her kidneys were given to an adult in Oklahoma.

“Even though she's gone, she will live on through those people,” Hilton said. “The life she did have was good. She was the best baby ever.”

Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes said Kaylee was in a car seat in a 1993 Dodge Shadow that was rear-ended by a pickup about 9 p.m. Sept. 22, in the 11400 block of SE 15 in Midwest City. Ashley Hilton, of Choctaw, was a passenger in the Dodge Shadow, which was being driven by Vincent Marino.

Read more and view video:

She lost 135 pounds to save her brother's life

MSNBC | Today Health | Linda Caroll

People try to slim down for a lot of reasons, but Kari Roberts may have one of the best -- losing weight has given her a chance to save her brother’s life.

Her brother, Tony Bolda, needed a new kidney to survive. But Roberts was told she wouldn’t even be considered as a kidney donor because she weighed 320 pounds. And that made her a poor candidate for surgery of any kind, much less one that involved donating a kidney, as her extra weight was straining her kidneys already.

Roberts’s brother was the one who broke the news to her.

“I told him I wanted to be tested and he informed me that they wouldn’t even consider me until I lost some weight,” Roberts told TODAY’s Ann Curry.

The Ultimate Gift: Sheboygan woman donating kidney to save best friend's life

Sheboygan Press | Janet Ortegon

Carrie Bitters would do anything for her best friend. Anything. Twice.

She wanted to give Rebecca Steinberg a kidney last year, but circumstances got in the way. Next week, she will try again.

"I'm not nervous," said Bitters, 43, of Sheboygan. "I'm excited. I'm weird that way. Is it weird to be excited to have your kidney ripped out? I want her to be well again. I've had a lot of time to think about it."

Steinberg, 48, is in end-stage renal failure, a condition brought on by untreated high blood pressure during pregnancy. Her kids are mostly grown — her youngest is 14 — and she's been on dialysis for about 18 months.

When Steinberg was diagnosed, doctors told her the waiting list for a kidney was six years. That was not what her best friend wanted to hear.

"Carrie was like, 'I don't think so,'" Steinberg said.

6th Annual Aspen Summit for Life 2011: Benefiting the Chris Klug Foundation

Mark your calendars for the 6th Annual Aspen Summit for Life 2011 weekend of events, December 9 and 10, 2011, in Aspen, Colorado. Centered around a nighttime race up Aspen Mountain, Summit for Life’s weekend of activities promotes the importance of organ and tissue donation.

Aspen, CO (PRWEB) September 29, 2011

Mark your calendars for the 6th Annual Aspen Summit for Life 2011 weekend of events, December 9 and 10, 2011, in Aspen, Colorado. Centered around a nighttime race up Aspen Mountain, Summit for Life’s weekend of activities promotes the importance of organ and tissue donation. Every day eighteen people die a preventable death due to the shortage of available organs. Through organ donation, one person can save as many as eight people.* Participants of Aspen Summit for Life help save lives by raising funds for the Chris Klug Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting lifesaving donation and improving the quality of life for donors, donor families, organ transplant candidates and recipients.

Last year’s Aspen Summit for Life was record breaking in terms of participation, fundraising and awareness. “The funds raised from the 2010 Aspen Summit for Life weekend made it possible for the Chris Klug Foundation to host over 50 awareness events nationwide in 2011 and provide 675 schools with our new Donor Dudes Educational Video,” commented Olympic Snowboarder and liver transplant recipient Chris Klug. “This year is sure to be even more far reaching with exciting changes to the line up of activities and the launch of our redesigned website.” The website features more fundraising tools that will enable racers to create their own fundraising page with automated functions for social media and messaging to aid racers in attain their personal fundraising goal.


5th Annual Wine and Dine for Life
December 9th from 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
$250 per person, of which $200 is tax-deductible
Presented by Sky Hotel, a Kimpton Hotel, with culinary creations donated by Pacifica Seafood and Raw Bar. Start the action-packed weekend at the 5th Annual Wine & Dine for Life, an elegant wine pairings dinner with Chris Klug and friends hosted in the chic Aspen Mountain Room at the Sky Hotel.

Party for Life hosted by 39 Degrees Lounge
December 9th starting at 10 pm
The team at 39 Degrees Lounge knows how to throw a party! Kick off the winter weekend at Party for Life in their swanky lounge with specialty drink and guest DJ spinning beats throughout the night. The party is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to come to this fun filled celebration of life.

6th Annual Aspen Summit for Life Uphill - Our Signature Event
December 10th - 5 pm Recreational Start & 6 pm Competitive Start.
The registration fee per person is $40 on or before December 9th and $60 the day of the race with a commitment to raise additional pledges. A unique nighttime race from the base to the summit of Aspen Mountain – 3,267 vertical feet over 2.5 miles to celebrate life-saving organ donation and help raise funds for the Chris Klug Foundation. Racers can use their preferred choice of lighting and non-motorized equipment. Supporters can also partake in the party at the Sundeck by signing up to Ride for Life and take the gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain. Tickets to the party cost $60 for adults, $35 for children and children three years old and under ride for free. A portion of each ticket is tax-deductible. When racers and supporters reach the summit there will be dinner prepared by The Little Nell, refreshments, live music, an awards ceremony and prize giveaways. The top fundraisers and top racers will receive great prizes.

To donate to the cause or learn more about Aspen Summit for Life 2011 visit: or contact Holly at 970/274-0832 or at Holly.Upper(at)gmail(dot)com.

Aspen Summit for Life and all its supporters enable the Chris Klug Foundation to focus on the mission of promoting life-saving organ donation and improving the quality of life for donors, donor families, organ transplant candidates and recipients. Current Summit for Life Partners include: Kahtoola, The Little Nell Hotel, The Sky Hotel, a Kimpton Hotel, Aspen Magazine, Aspen Square Hotel, Pacifica Seafood & Raw Bar, 39 Degrees, The Anschutz Foundation, Ink! Coffee, The Aspen Business, Aspen Public Radio, Slater Foundation, Aspen Valley Hospital,, Grassroots Community TV. Hosted in conjunction with the Aspen Skiing Company.

About CKF:
The Chris Klug Foundation (CKF) is a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Aspen, Colorado. Founded in 2004 by liver transplant recipient and Olympic snowboarder Chris Klug, CKF is dedicated to promoting lifesaving donation and improving the quality of life for donors, donor families, organ transplant candidates and recipients.

Through its grassroots initiative, Donor Dudes, CKF is also working with young people around the world--providing donor awareness materials and information for Donor Dudes chapters on high schools and college campuses nationwide. People everywhere are touched by organ donation and transplantation, and it is our mission to help spread the word in a fun way.

For more information about organ donation and the support available surrounding our cause, please visit us at

*Sources: Donate Life America and UNOS, current as of April 2011

Celebration for Organ Donation at The State Capitol

WILX News 10, Michigan | Caroline Vandergriff

Hundreds of people will gather at the state capitol today to celebrate organ, eye, and tissue transplants. Gift of Life Michigan hopes to bring together families of donors with recipients whose lives have been saved.

Organizers also hope it's a reminder to the public about the critical need to increase Michigan's donor registry.

Sarah McPharlin, a 21-year-old, MSU student, caught a virus that attacked her heart when she was 11 years old. The virus left her heart unable to beat on its own.

"I knew that I was sick and if I didn't get the organ I could die," McPharlin said.

The Driver's License Misconception FAQ - Donate Life Vermont

Donate Life Vermont

Q:  I signed the back of my driver’s license; does that make me an organ and tissue donor registrant?
A: While signing the back of your driver’s license is a good first step, the driver’s license is not connected to Vermont’s official organ & tissue donor registry, so a person’s wish to donate their organs and/or tissue at the time of their death may not be granted.  The consent stated on a driver’s license is legal, but there are many reasons why a person’s wishes may not be honored, including:
  • During traumatic events, a person’s driver’s license rarely makes it to the hospital with them
  • A driver’s license is not binding, so a person’s wish can be overridden by family
  • The consent on a driver’s license may be rubbed off or non-legible.
The best way to make sure that your wish to become an organ donor is recognized is by joining the official online registry at

Q:  Why is the official way to become an organ donor?
A. The online registry at is connected to the OPO (Organ Procurement Organization).  When a patient meets the criteria for being referred to the OPO, the hospital contacts the OPO to find out if their name is on the list as a consented organ and tissue donor.  If it is and if the patient is determined to be an organ donor candidate, the process can continue because the patient has given their legally binding consent to be a donor.  By joining the official online registry, a person’s wishes will be recognized immediately and cannot be overridden by opposing parties.

Q: Why is the number of official organ and tissue donors in Vermont so low?
A: Currently, Vermont has less than 1% of the entire state’s population registered on the official organ and tissue donor list.  Many people in Vermont are still uninformed about the online registry and have only signed their driver’s license. However, only those on the official online registry are represented in the count. 
We need your help to bring awareness to the entire state about the driver’s license misconception and the importance of registering your wishes at
If you have any questions about becoming an organ and tissue donor please contact Sara , visit our Facebook page or send us a tweet @DonateLifeVT
Vermont Driver's License

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Donate Life California Appoints Charlene Zettel as First Chief Executive Officer

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 28, 2011Donate Life California (DLC), which oversees California’s organ and tissue donor registry, announced today the appointment of Charlene Zettel as the organization’s inaugural chief executive officer, effective Oct. 3, 2011.  Zettel served in the California State Assembly from 1998 until 2002 and currently serves on the Board of Regents of the University of California.   

Charlene Zettel

We are excited to welcome Charlene to Donate Life California as our first CEO,” said Lisa Stocks, president of Donate Life California, the non-profit organization created in 2004 to administer the state-authorized donor registry. “As we enter the next phase in our organization’s evolution, it is critical that we effect the kind of strategic outreach that is achievable with the help of a distinguished professional like Charlene. 
Stocks went on to add, “Charlene’s career encompasses not only an impressive record in executive leadership and administration of government, healthcare agencies and private sector businesses, but also years of service with various government and non-profit boards. We believe that Charlene’s passion for our mission and energy are paramount to Donate Life California’s growth as an organization."

With more than 8.5 million Californians registered as organ and tissue donors through the state’s Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry, California, with its high population, currently has more registered donors than any other state.  Since the registry was introduced in April 2005, registered donors have saved more than 1,300 lives through organ donation, thereby bringing hope to the more than 21,000 Californians who are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. California donors have also helped more than 75,000 people through cornea and tissue donation.

 “I look forward to being part of the exceptional team at Donate Life California,” Zettel commented upon accepting the new leadership position. “Although California has more registered donors than any other state, when offered the opportunity to register as donors a relatively low percentage of Californians choose to do so. Of the 26 million licensed drivers and ID holders, only 30 percent have signed up to be organ and tissue donors.”

Zettel went on to say, “Encouraging Californians to sign up as organ and tissue donors is a critical issue for me, given that more than 20 percent of those on national transplant waiting lists are in California.

Zettel’s career in public service began in 1992 when she was elected to the Poway Unified School District Board of Education. After serving in that office for six years, Zettel was encouraged by her constituents to seek higher office.  In 1998, Zettel became the first Republican Latina elected to the state legislature.

Among her responsibilities in the Assembly, Zettel served as chairwoman of the Republican Caucus, vice chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy, and as a member of the Appropriations, Education, Health, Rules, Arts, Entertainment, Tourism & Internet Media, Transportation and Governmental Organization committees among others. Zettel was also appointed to the Select Committee on California – Mexico Affairs as well as the National Federation of Women Legislators, where she worked on the “Shoulder to Shoulder” Campaign to combat “club drugs”.

While a member of the Legislature, Charlene worked with senior citizen advocates, district attorneys and law enforcement to champion laws protecting senior citizens from abuse. She also sought to protect children with the introduction and passage of “Oliver’s Law,” which provided parents with critical information about licensed day care providers, and AB 1789, which increased penalties for child abusers.

In addition to elected state service, Charlene has served as the director of the San Diego Office of Governor Schwarzenegger, a public interest director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs as well as a board member of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross and a board member of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.     

Raised in Los Angeles, Zettel earned a BS degree in dental hygiene from the University of Southern California, School of Dentistry.  She and her husband, David, reside in Encinitas, Calif.  They have been married 41 years and have two adult sons, Brent and Jeffrey.

Donate Life California administers the nonprofit, state-authorized organ and tissue donor registry with the support of California’s four nonprofit, federally-designated organ recovery agencies: California Transplant Donor Network, Golden State Donor Services, Lifesharing and OneLegacy. As a state-authorized public service, the registry assures that all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel.

For more information about the Donate Life California Registry, the process, and how donation saves and improves lives, please visit, or in Spanish at

The Annual Rose Garden Ceremony

Plainview Patch | Cindy Springsteen
An event that honors those who have given life to others
Left to right: Julia E. Rivera of NYS TRIO, TRIO Board member Dave Rodgers, Legislator Judy Jacobs, LI TRIO President Michael Soana, Professor of Surgery and Medicine for North Shore/LIJ Health System Dr. Ernesto P. Molmenti, TRIO Board Member Jo Michaels, and transplant recipient Ronnie Schwartz.
The Annual Rose Garden Ceremony honors donor recipients and their families, those who have given others a new life.

Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs attended the ceremony, which was hosted by The Long Island Chapter of Transplant Recipients International Organization. The event took place at Eisenhower Park Sept. 17.

Healthcare profressionals, members of the NY Organ Donor Network, as well as organ and tissue recipients, and the donor families were the guest speakers at the ceremony.

NHS "delighted" with Hounslow response to organ apeal

Feltham & Hanworth | Jessica Thompson

MORE THAN 100 Hounslow residents signed up to the NHS Organ Donor Register at a lifeline event in the town centre.
Staff from the NHS Blood and Transplant Campaign set up camp in the Treaty Centre on Saturday, in a bid to increase the number of black and Asian people on the register.

It was organised to help residents to understand the importance of signing up to the ODR, and allowed people to ask any questions they might have about the commitment.

Volunteering Opportunities at LifeLink of Georgia

LifeLink of Georgia, the local agency that coordinates organ and tissue donations for the state, seeks volunteers to assist with programs pertaining to organ and tissue donation and transplantation. 

Volunteer activities include public speaking, staffing information tables and more. Potential volunteers include transplant recipients and their families, patients waiting for transplants, donor families or anyone interested in organ, tissue donation. 

Volunteers trained by LifeLink staff. Call Tracy Gay at 800-365-2066 or 341-0000.

Undercover brothers

Detroit Metro Times | Larry Gabriel
"It's very humbling to have someone donate a kidney to you."

Reggie Carter is tall, and his lanky body cuts a commanding figure walking down the street. He was something of a ladies' man back in the day, and the black eye patch he wore back then gave him a swashbuckling air. That patch was no tool of seduction. Carter lost his right eye at 4 years old after a stick propelled from a piece of inner tube rubber destroyed it. Now, at 61 years, he has a prosthetic eye and usually wears sunglasses, though he can still turn the ladies' heads.

When I ran into him on Nine Mile Road in Ferndale a few months ago, he was wearing a white surgical mask. I knew Carter was on kidney dialysis, spending some four hours a day, three days a week, on the time-consuming but life-saving process that cleans patients' blood. When I saw the mask I wondered if he'd had some kind of downturn, although to tell the truth he seemed to have gained weight and lost that gaunt look.

Madeline's Gift

Miami County Republic | Brain McCauley
Tragic loss spurs family to plan event to help youths with special needs
Madeline Herman was a true fun-loving 8-year-old girl in almost every way. She loved to dance, sing, tell jokes, give hugs and play dress up, but most of all, she loved her family.

Madeline’s parents, Sonny and Shera, along with her brother and sister, Dakota and Erin, had gotten used to hearing phrases like “play with me,” “let’s play Barbies,” and “I love it.”

It wasn’t uncommon to see Madeline proudly dancing around the house while modeling a princess or cheerleader outfit, and rarely did she not have a smile on her face.

Now, her family is still coping with grief after Madeline suffered a severe seizure May 30 and later died at the hospital. But despite the tragedy, Madeline’s family is determined to make sure her life will have a positive impact on others.

Tragedy strikes

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New proposal could change who gets donated organs first

Laura McCallister | Dana Wright |  KCTV News 5

When KCTV5's Dana Wright first introduced viewers to a 77-year-old Overland Park man, his kidneys were failing and he was in desperate need of a transplant. Recently, the life-saving call finally came but that hasn't eased the concern of the retiree for other older Americans still on the waiting list.
Melvin Bareiss, 77, said he and his wife have a lot of living to do now that he's been given the ultimate gift of a kidney but he's concerned other older Americans might not have the same chance at getting a donor organ in their twilight years. His fear comes from a proposed rule change which would match donor kidneys and recipients, in part, by age.
"I feel fantastic," Bareiss said.
Bareiss is back home in Overland Park after the recent surgery which gave him a new lease on life. Doctors transplanted a donor kidney below his right hip bone, putting an end to weekly dialysis treatments Bareiss endured three days a week, four hours a day, for an entire year.
"That was the thing that really weighed on me. You just don't feel like doing anything after being on dialysis for a week," he said.
Bareiss' gift came after a local woman, who wanted to be a donor, died suddenly. He said it's tough knowing someone else had to lose so much so he could be here. He said he knows he's fortunate to leave his days of dialysis behind.
Read more, learn how the proposed changes may change allocation:

Importance of organ donation hits home for Charlotte family

New 14 Carolina | McKinsey Harris

CHARLOTTE – A Charlotte man is hoping his story will raise awareness about the need for organ donations. David Rosen, 42, has been on the transplant waiting list for a year now, and so far, he hasn't found a match.

Rosen suffers from end stage renal failure and has only one kidney, which operates around 20 percent or less. Along with this, he is also a husband, father of four, and a business man.

"I got a lot going on. I've got to stay here for the kids,” said Rosen.

He says his faith and his family are giving him strength through the long wait.

"I trust that I'm going to have one, that I'm going to get my kidney that I need. I just really want to get the awareness out to the people that they can be living donors," said Rosen.

It's a passion of both his and Tom Aspenwall. Aspenwall who works for LifeShare and is a heart recipient himself. Aspenwall says the numbers of both deceased and living donors have gone up.

"And that's because of all the stories you've seen in the news, in the movies, and people's willingness to help other people and knowing that organ donation is a life saving gift and it does work,” said Aspenwall.

While a heart on your license means you're an organ donor, Aspenwall says not everyone dies in a way that they can be a donor.

"Because only one to two percent of the population ever die in a way that they can be an organ donor, the need is great,” said Aspenwall. “There is still a shortage of organs in this country."

Read more:

Masquerade party to say thanks for life-changing donation

New Castle Star | Australia

ANN Kolatchew does not know the name of the person who saved her life.

But she wrote a letter to express her gratitude to the person's family.

Mrs Kolatchew is the recipient of a donated liver.

She knows it was only with the family's consent that she was given the vital organ.

For most of her life, the Charlestown resident suffered from a debilitating liver condition that put her on the top of the organ donation waiting list.

To this day, it is not known what caused her years of pain and agony, including 11 visits to intensive care and twice being put on life support.

'My whole life revolved around hospitals," Mrs Kolatchew said.

"Toxins were going to my brain and I was always yellow around the eyes and had a swollen stomach.

"I couldn't work or drive because of all the blackouts.

"I was waiting to die."

Only a few weeks away from Christmas last year, she received the phone call that changed her life.

At five o'clock on a November afternoon, Mrs Kolatchew answered the phone - it was the Royal Prince Alfred Transplant Institute but she was told not to get her hopes up.

Pardee Hospital Foundation hosts annual Women Helping Women Events

Pardee Hospital | Lauren

Pardee Hospital Foundation will host their annual Women Helping Women events Thursday, Oct. 13 and Friday, Oct. 14.

A meet the speaker dinner will be held Thursday, Oct. 13, at 5:30 p.m. at Kenmure Country Club where attendees can meet this year’s Women Helping Women featured speaker, Jessica Melore. Melore suffered a massive heart attack at age 16 that led to multiple health complications including a heart transplant. She is now an advocate for organ donation, heart disease, cancer, and disability awareness.

“Now that I’m 29, I can say that the adversity I’ve been through over the past 12 years has enriched my life in so many ways. My message to your community will be ‘don’t let any obstacle stand in your way’,” said Melore.

New specialty plate to benefit organ donation in North Carolina

McDowell News | Mike Conley

Seven years ago, a young man in Kannapolis was killed in an automobile accident. Even though his young life was tragically cut short, it allowed three other people, including a McDowell man, to have a new chance at life.

And now, a new specialty license plate in North Carolina will encourage others to do the same.

Recently, N.C. Rep. Mitch Gillespie announced the passage of a bill in the General Assembly in June that creates a specialty plate to help educate the public about organ donation. Gillespie, a Republican from McDowell, sponsored House Bill 289/S.L. 2011-392. This bill creates a specialty license plate that promotes organ donation in North Carolina. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Bev Perdue.

The proceeds from the sale of this special plate will be used benefit Donate Life North Carolina, a non-profit, collaborative group of organizations that promote eye, organ and tissue donation. “Working together, the member organizations are directly involved in supporting donor families and facilitating organ, eye and tissue transplants across the state,” reads Donate Life North Carolina’s website. “Our mission is to inspire all North Carolina residents to save and enhance lives by registering as organ, eye and tissue donors.”

Read more:

Friends for life - Walk for Life - October 1, 2011

LOPA - Rabalais Run for Life - November 5, 2011

Click on photo to go to learn more and register

Organ Donor's Family Meets Recipients

KXLY4 Spokane | Aaron Luna
WAVERLY - Wash. -- All it takes is a signature when applying for a driver's license. However, one Waverly family found out just how important being an organ donor can be.

The words imagine and dream frame the quilt that covered 18-year-old Tiffani Lewis for the last minutes of her life, but her family never imagined things would end like this. Mom Maylynn Curtis says, "Watching her lay there with life support and waiting. That was the hardest."

Tiffani and her boyfriend Levi Larrison were in a car crash in September of 2010 on the Palouse Highway in Spokane County. Levi died instantly. Tiffani was in critical condition being kept alive by machines at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Ann Lopez

National Hispanic Heritage Month
Celebrating contributions by the Hispanic Community to organ, eye and tissue donation & transplantation

Living Kidney Donor Ann Lopez

Ann Lopez has worked in a myriad of capacities in the entertainment industry. She spent five years in regional theater before moving to Los Angeles, where she appeared in more than 60 national and regional commercials.

“I loved being in front of the camera but I had been acting since I was 11 years old and wanted a change,” Ann said. She was offered a job in casting at Disney, where she met her future husband, George Lopez, during an audition. Always up for a new challenge, Ann started producing television specials and movies, most recently “Speedy Gonzalez,” a feature film in production with New Line Pictures. She continues to act and recently appeared on “The Black Swan” episode of Curb your Enthusiasm and filmed a pilot for an ensemble talk show with Telepictures.

Ann’s most recognized and respected role may never be in front of the cameras, however. In 2005, she donated a kidney to her husband George. Later that year, she and her daughter placed a rose in his name on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float. Soon after, Ann and George became national spokespeople for The National Kidney Foundation.

“I feel so blessed to have been able to give my husband the gift of life,” said Ann. “My goal is to help garner national attention to organ donation, especially living donation, as well as education about prevention and screening for kidney disease.”

It is with this goal in mind that the Lopezes launched The Ann & George Lopez Foundation. As the co-founder and principal of the foundation, Ann guides and approves the foundation’s strategic goals, helps develop the organization’s overall direction, and advocates for and focuses public attention on the foundation’s key goals.

When she is not advocating for donation, Ann lives with her husband George, their daughter Mayan, and a menagerie of seven dogs one cat, and a fish.

Story courtesy of Donate Life Rose Parade Float 

After woman's death in fatal crash, family chooses to help others through organ donation

The York Daily Record | Teresa Ann Boeckel

In Grete K. Beck's death, there was a blessing, her husband, the Rev. William H. Beck, said Monday evening.

The two had talked in recent years about what they were going to do with their bodies when they died. They decided to help science and other human beings.

The Becks had known a man who was covered with scars from a severe burn, but the technology wasn't available at the time for a skin transplant. They also had a relative who benefited from a heart transplant.

Grete Beck, 71, of Codorus Township died Sunday morning after her vehicle veered into the oncoming lane and struck another vehicle in Jackson Township. She was heading to church at the time.

Doctors harvested Grete's corneas, bones, valves and other body parts so that someone else could benefit from organ donation.

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Becoming friends, remarking life

The Boston Globe | Joseph P. Kahn

Ex-classmates' online connection leads to kidney donation

BRISTOL, R.I. - They hugged on the deck behind the local Elks Club, where their high school class was holding its 25th reunion this month. You look great, said both women, now 43-year-old mothers. They smiled, stood apart, then embraced again. Classmates greeted them with hugs and high fives.

Each woman wore a piece of jewelry symbolizing the bond that has grown between them over the past two years, since Liz Kennedy learned that Ying Su, her former classmate, needed a kidney transplant and Kennedy might be a match. A special bond evolved, one that would come to link organ donor to recipient.

Trading human organs: "Clear Malaysia's name"

Free Malaysia Today | Teoh El Sen
A group of kidney doctors want police to investigates report that a local hospital in Selangor is involved in an international syndicate trading human organs

KUALA LUMPUR: A group of kidney doctors have lodged a police report, urging the authorities to launch a “detailed and professional” investigation to clear the air over allegations that Malaysia is
involved in an international organ trafficking syndicate.

The joint report was made by Malaysian Society of Transplantation president Dr Harjit Singh, Malaysian Society of Nephrology president Dr Wong Hin Seng, and Consumer Association of Subang and Shah Alam (CASSA) president Jacob George.

The report also received the support of Kuala Lumpur Hospital head of Nephrology Department and senior consultant Dr Ghazali Ahmad and Dr Tan Chwee Choong of Klang Hospital.

“We are asking for a serious investigation into the (alleged) commercial transplants or organ trading involving Bangladeshi citizens as reported by their police there, which implicated Malaysia,” Ghazali said.

Woman shares story of husband's pioneering in dialysis project

Americus Times-Recorder | Lisa Law
Charlene W. Roy urges others to be organ donors

Charlene Roy with photo of herself and her late
husband.  Photo: Lisa Law 
AMERICUS — As she makes her way through her Magnolia Manor assisted living suite, Charlene White Roby, 86, takes a seat to reminisce her early years of being born and raised in the Andrew Chapel Community located just outside of Sumter County, just over the Schley County line.

“My father, Charlie White died when I was two and a half years old,” she said, adding that she and her mother moved to her grandfather, C.C. Jordan’s farm located in Schley County.

“My mother remarried Gordon Feagin. That is when we moved to Americus. I didn’t want to go live with him. I thought of him as an old man. But, I eventually learned to love him. He was a mighty good stepfather,” she said, adding that she finished school at Americus High and attended Georgia Southwestern for a brief period before beginning her employment with the Bank of Commerce. She worked with the bank until she decided to marry and move north.

“It all began while my mother and stepfather were away. They were gone to New York to the World’s Fair,” she said. “I had to stay home. I was still attending school. I was sleeping at my neighbors’. As I was crossing the street, there were four young men walking down the sidewalk. They asked me, ‘Do you know where the Blairs live?’” she said, adding that James R. Blair, then owner/publisher of the Americus Times-Recorder, lived in her neighborhood.

“My grandmother was keeping the Blairs’ baby. Well, a few days later, Mrs. Blair called and invited me and a few of my girlfriends over to attend a Coca-Cola party with the guys. That is what you had back then, instead of coffee or tea, the young kids had Coke parties,” she explained with a smile.

Volleyball Match Encourages Gift of Life donation

WSAW Wisconsin | Bao Vang

The UW-Marathon County women's volleyball team faces off against Northland International University from Marinette County Monday night at home. Ticket holders will not only see a great match, but will hear a special message from a young man who is alive thanks to the gift of life.

Every season, the team dedicates one match to raise awareness about an issue that's affecting residents in Northcentral Wisconsin. Last year, teammates decked out in pink for breast cancer research. Monday night is "Recycle Life" night, an effort to spread the word about organ donation.

The night's special guest is 20-year-old Darin Weiks, a young man who likes to play sports, attends college and lives on his own.

Kidney walk raises thousands, Canada

The Expositor | Susan Gamble

The annual walk for kidneys is well past the toddling stage.

Seven years ago about 12 people gathered for Brantford's first Give the Gift of Life Walk, but on Sunday, a crowd of 90 surged through the gates of Harmony Square to help raise an estimated $17,000.

"It's found its legs," said organizer Brenda Barham, who is herself a recipient of a life-changing kidney.

"We've had some wonderful sponsors come on board, students from BCI doing the live entertainment and people calling to offer items for the silent auction," added Barham, who admits that her kidney tends to make her eyes leak during this weekend each year.

"This is the most emotional time for me.

“Awareness is increasing. People can even sign up on FaceBook to be an organ donor. But in many countries they have assumed consent where, if you haven't signed an organ donor card it's assumed you want to. If we could get that here it would really change things.” – Brenda Barham

Daughter's death prompts life-saving gift

KSAT San  Antonio | Jennifer Dodd

SAN ANTONIO -- Eight years ago, Lalie Gomez's daughter, Yvette, then 20 years old, was in a motorcycle accident.

"We recieved a phone call from her best friend that she was at (Brooke Army Medical Center)," Gomez said.

She and her husband rushed to the hospital, where Yvette was declared brain dead.

Still on life support, they were confronted with a decision no parent wants to make: whether or not they donate their daughter's organs.

"We didn't hesitate," she said. "We just automatically signed the papers."

Yvette's heart was given to a man named Chuck, a father of two who lives in Corpus Christi.

"There hasn't been a Mother's Day or Yvette's birthday or the day he received his transplant that he doesn't call," she said.

Read more and learn how you can sign-up:

Honey's Helpers, Lifeline of Ohio

Lifeline of Ohio

I am so excited to meet a new group of helpers tonight! I’m hosting a training session for “Honey’s Helpers,” a group of dedicated volunteers who help me create “buzz” about organ and tissue donation.
Since I was born more than two years ago, the central Ohio community has welcomed me with open arms! I have had incredible opportunities to attend events and make new friends. I have my own facebook page, I get to host the Kids and Mascots Dash every year - a really fun event with my mascot friends - and Lifeline of Ohio even started giving away little bee dolls that look just like me! (In fact, I’m giving five away to people who comment on this post!)

Along the way, I’ve taken my message with me, encouraging everyone to “bee” an organ and tissue donor. None of this would be possible without the helpers who escort me to community events and even get to be the bee!

Getting involved as one of my helpers is a fun way to save lives. If you’re interested in helping me register donors in swarms, email to find out when my next training session will take place.

Buzz and Kisses!

- Honey Bee

Go to HERE by 11:50 p.m. EST on 9/27/11 for your chance to win your very own mini Honey Bee doll! Five commenters will be randomly selected as winners.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Tissue Donation Gives Amputee the Strength to Reclaim Life

National Hispanic Heritage Month
Celebrating contributions by the Hispanic Community to organ, eye and tissue donation & transplantation

Picture of Manuel SalazarManuel Salazar
Tissue Recipient: Denver, CO

In just one instant, Manuel Salazar’s life was changed forever when a downed power line struck him. He was just 22 years old when 115,000 volts of electricity were sent through his body. Unable to help due to the risk of further electrical shock, his coworkers were forced to watch him suffer life-threatening burns. He was airlifted to Doctors Hospital, a leading burn clinic in Augusta, Georgia. It was a miracle he survived.

Manuel spent three months receiving skin grafts from AlloSource to heal his burns. However, he still lost both arms and legs. The physical and emotional struggle was overwhelming. “I didn’t understand why they had saved my life,” explains Manuel. “I didn’t think I could go on.”

Nonetheless, this courageous young man pressed on. After his stay at in the burn unit, he was taken to The Denver Center for Extremities at Risk. While the extent of his amputations made him a difficult candidate for prosthetics, the team at the center used human bone from a donor to build Manuel a new shoulder that could be fitted with a prosthetic. With his new shoulder and prosthetic, Manuel could once again feed himself, brush his teeth and even scratch his head.

Manuel is looking forward to improvements to his legs as new techniques for fitting prosthetic legs over the amputation site become perfected. Yet today, because of the donated tissue and prosthetics, he drives, skis, waterskis, and owns an auto body shop.

Manuel admits that the first two years after the accident were very hard. He experienced personal setbacks but was inspired by other amputees in his support groups. “Now I am just thankful to be alive,” he says. “I want to try new things. I see life in a whole new way.”

Manuel’s story is courtesy of AlloSource, Centennial, CO.

To learn and read more stories:

"It's not my face, but I feel thankful that I have one"

The Mail | Amy Oliver

America's first face transplant patient on her recovery after being shot by the husband she still loves
  • Connie Culp says she will always love brute who shot her at near point blank range in 2004
  • But despite that she still divorced him earlier this year
  • Although transplant has given her new love for life, she faces daily struggle
  • Finds it hard to smile and is almost totally blind, but has range of gadgets to help

Applying a smudge of pink lipstick to her new, shapely mouth is something of a milestone for Connie Culp.

Before her pioneering face transplant in 2008, wearing lipstick - or any makeup - would have been an impossible task after her top lip, nose, roof of her mouth, one eye and both cheeks were destroyed by then husband Tom, who brutally shot her in the face after flying into a rage.

Now, the 48-year-old, from Ohio, who was the first person to receive a face transplant in the U.S., has bravely decided to talk about the domestic abuse and terrible shooting she endured at the hands of the man she says she still loves.

Her decision to speak out comes as Culp, 52, was last week released from prison after serving just seven years for the horrific crime.

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