Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Great American Kidney Swap

The New York Times Magazine | Malia Wollan

Zully Broussard, 55, from Sacramento, was the “altruistic donor” of a kidney chain. A slide show of the rest of the chain is below. Credit Todd Hido for The New York Times

Waiting for a donated organ is a long shot, and buying one is illegal. But sophisticated software, combined with old-fashioned selflessness, could be a solution.

Before surgeons stitched a kidney from a 32-year-old former Marine into his abdomen in March, Mark Kim spent almost two years on dialysis. He had lot of time to think while hooked up to the machine, three times a week, as it pumped his blood out of his body, purified it and pumped it back in. Sometimes he found himself mulling over how odd it was that a new kidney — the one thing he needed most — was something money couldn’t buy.

When his kidneys first failed him, all sorts of people offered to donate one: his neighbor, his two 20-something nieces, two old friends, his sister. But none could follow through, mostly because of incompatible blood types. Such supply-and-demand mismatches can cause prices to skyrocket in a normal market, and indeed, Kim heard hints about the organ’s economic value along the way. Once, at a backyard barbecue, a woman whispered to him that her mother purchased a kidney on the black market for $100,000.

Despite the crushing demand, the sale of kidneys is banned in every country in the world except Iran. In the U.S., more than 100,000 people with renal failure are on the list for a deceased-donor kidney, typically waiting between four and five years. Last year, 4,270 people died waiting. Few but free-market absolutists would argue for repealing the 1984 law banning the organ trade in the U.S., but most would agree something should be done to increase the supply of kidneys for transplant. In a sense, though, there’s already a global glut: While we are born with two kidneys, we can function just fine with one. The problem is that they’re stuck inside of us. Continue reading


Record number of registered organ donors, but long waits for kidneys remain


After Mark Larson was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease in 1984, his sister donated a kidney that failed three years later. He then spent five years on a waiting list before receiving another kidney. Photo by Samantha Incorvaia

When Mark Larson first required a kidney transplant in 1984, obtaining one was relatively simple because his sister was willing to donate one of hers.

When that kidney failed three years later, he spent five years on a waiting list – and undergoing dialysis – before receiving one from a deceased donor.

Larson said the process was grueling, including one false start when he returned from vacation only to find out that a kidney he was supposed to receive wasn’t going to work out.

"I was disappointed, and having gone through what I’ve already gone through, I just said, ‘OK, this is one more bump in the road,’" he said. "You just gotta keep a good attitude, which I always believe is a good way to live my life."

As of April 30, 2,011 Arizonans were on the waiting list for kidneys, which are by far the organ in greatest demand, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

There have never been more registered organ donors in Arizona – more than 2.5 million – thanks in large to a change in 2006 allowing people to register as organ donors when receiving driver’s licenses, according to the Donor Network of Arizona. Ninety-five percent of donors registered through the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division. Continue reading



Donor families and recipients celebrate the end of Donate Life

NBC 24 | Christopher Burns

TOLEDO – National Donate Life Month is almost over, but not before Donor Families, recipients and the staff at Promedica Toledo Hospital celebrated their first Donor Remembrance Walk.

The walk honored those who have given the gift of life through organ or tissue donation. Some of those in attendance wanted to share their stories, like when a young donor’s mother and a recipient met for the very first time.

The event was put on by Donate Life Ohio.

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

“May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian-Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Asians, and Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders suffer significantly from kidney and liver disease. Asians are 5½ times more likely than Caucasians to develop hepatitis B and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are 7 times more likely to develop chronic liver disease and twice as likely to develop diabetes, increasing the risk of organ failure.

90 percent of Asians, native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders on the U.S. Transplant wait list are waiting for a kidney. Pacific Islanders are two times more likely than Caucasians to be on the transplant waitList.

In 2013 only 3% of deceased donors were Asians, native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.


The Gift of Life: What to Know About Organ Donation and Transplant

Seattle Childrens | Alyse Bernal

April marks National Donate Life Month, a time devoted to spreading awareness about the tremendous need for increasing the number of organ, eye and tissue donors. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), more than 120,000 people in the U.S. are on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ, and sadly, more than 21 people die each day waiting for a transplant. For some, becoming a donor and the transplantation process can seem daunting, but the impact on a recipient’s life is invaluable.

Seattle Children’s has one of the best and busiest pediatric transplant centers in the nation, working across a six-state region to provide lifesaving organ transplants for patients. Seattle Children’s Transplant Center is one of the few in the world that performs living donor liver transplants, is one of the top five kidney transplant centers in the U.S. and also has some of the best survival outcomes in the nation for pediatric liver, kidney and heart transplants.

It goes without saying that organ transplantation is a major area of focus at Seattle Children’s, and so here we’re sharing a few key facts to help shed some light on organ donation and the transplantation process:

One donor can impact eight lives. Continue reading.



Enfield Teens Share Stories Of Organ And Tissue Donation

Hartford Courant | Michael Walsh

Mark Quinn, left, and William "Skipper" Carlander, right, are Enrico Fermi High School students who are raising awareness for organ donation. Carlander's brother, 17-year-old Jacob, was the recipient of a new liver in 2010. Quinn's father, Edward, died in 2002. Edward's bone, vein and tissue donations have helped nearly 100 people since. Quinn is holding a photo of him and his father. (Michael Walsh, The Hartford Courant)

Enrico Fermi High School freshmen William Carlander and Mark Quinn have different stories to tell about organ and tissue donation.

But both stories these longtime friends share meet at the same place of advocating for more people to become organ donors. The two were at Asnuntuck Community College on April 22 trying to convince others to opt in to be an organ donor.

Carlander, better known to his friends and family as Skipper, has an older brother, 17-year-old Jacob Carlander, who in 2010 was diagnosed with liver cancer. Later that year he received a liver transplant that saved his life.

His family's story, he said, shows how important organ donations can be.

"I went through him getting the donation," William Carlander, 14, said. "I want more people to become donors to help save other people's lives."

Quinn's story shares the importance of organ and tissue donation from another point of view. Continue reading


Grateful for life

Central KY News | By Kendall Fletcher

Photo submittedKevin Wilson received a new liver in 2003, and while taking the lowest dose of immunosuppressants possible, he goes to work every day as the Clark County Road Department Supervisor.

April is National Donate Life Month, and each year people nationwide make an effort to celebrate organ donors as well as those who bring attention to the cause daily, like the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life program.

In 1992, the Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks, spearheaded by a former Clark Circuit Clerk Arthur "Whitey" Walson, successfully sponsored legislation through the Kentucky General Assembly that afforded every Kentuckian obtaining a driver’s license or ID an opportunity to donate $1 to promote organ and tissue donation. Since creating the trust, the circuit clerks have raised more than $7 million in Kentucky’s 120 counties.

Earlier this month, local churches distributed fliers encouraging organ and tissue donation and there was a fundraiser cookout at Clark Regional Medical Center for Trust For Life. Along with a bake sale held in March, more than $1,000 was raised, according to Clark Circuit Clerk Paula Joslin.

"As for myself, I want everyone to know how important it is to join the registry and how much I appreciate the citizens of Clark County for supporting the Trust For Life," Joslin said. "Giving the gift of life is the most precious gift you can give. The importance of such a gift becomes even more real when you meet the recipients who would not be here without it."

Some local organ recipients, Kevin Wilson, Nicole Tipton and Billy Joe Leslie, shared their stories for National Donate Life Month. Continue reading.



Donating Hope: Giving the gift of life through organ donation

CBS AZ | Charisse Gibson

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -Texarkana, Texas native Natalie Banks knows first-hand the value of organ donation, having received 2 livers in her young life.

Her story is one that she and her family are sharing in hopes of giving hope to others who are waiting for the gift of life.

There are currently 124,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the United States.

Doctors say patients die every day while on that waiting list, because the number of those waiting for organs exceed the number of organs available.

Natalie's story begins with the early signs that appeared soon after her birth in May 1994.

Her proud parents were excited to show off their new bundle of joy. One one such visit, Kim recalls a friend noting that something wasn't quite right. "Her skin was really yellow and she said you really probably need to get that checked out," says Kim. Continue reading.

CBS 5 - KPHO Read more:


How a Death Row Inmate's Request to Give His Organs Kept Him Alive


The death chamber lies still at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas, September 29, 2010. JENEVIEVE ROBBINS/TEXAS DEPT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Wednesday on a sedative medication that prisons have used as a lethal injection drug, potentially violating death row inmates’ rights against cruel and unusual punishment. Although the drug, midazolam, may have contributed to a series of botched executions in 2014, one death row inmate has benefitted from the controversy. He remains at the center of a medical, legal and ethical debate.

On November 13, 2013, prison officials transferred Ronald Ray Phillips from death row, where he had resided for 20 years, to the "death house" in southern Ohio. He had finally run out of appeals. In less than 24 hours, they would strap him to a gurney and inject a fatal drug combination into his veins. Just days before his scheduled death, however, Phillips made an unprecedented request—one that has kept him alive until today. He asked to give his heart to his sister, who had a heart condition, and his kidney to his mother, who was on dialysis.

When people die, their organs usually die with them. That’s why the majority of heart donations are from patients who are brain dead. In these cases, the body is alive on life support, but the brain is permanently unconscious. Since the donor will never wake up, doctors may retrieve the healthy organs. Continue reading.



Jackson students raise money on National Donate Life Day

KFVS | Brian Heisserer

(Source: Miranda Schlosser)

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - Students and teachers at Immaculate Conception School in Jackson, Missouri helped raise awareness and money on National Donate Life day.

Donations topped $1,000 on April 17.

The money will go to two organizations: the Kaden Robert Baseball Factory Scholarship and Mid-America Transplant Service.

Kaden Robert was an organ donor, who's donation saved five lives.

Miranda Schlosser was Robert's cousin, and she teaches kindergarten at Immaculate Conception.

Mid-America Transplant Service helped match Robert's organs with the five recipients. Continue reading.



Organ Recipient Throws Out First Pitch

Western Slope Now | Adam Lucas and Emily Fredrick

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. -- In recent history, the achilles heel of the Colorado Rockies' pitching staff is their health. Last week, a little girl from the Western Slope showed what it means to truly be tough on the mound after getting a second chance at life.

Lella Young, a seven-year-old from Delta got to throw out the first pitch at the Rockies' game last Friday, but it was a moment that wouldn't have been possible without a stranger becoming a hero through organ donation.

Lella was born with scar tissue that drains her liver. She's gone through five major surgeries, and has been sedated 26 times at Children's Hospital in Denver.

"She needed a life-saving organ," said Lyndall Young, Lella's mother.

Last week, the Colorado Rockies hosted a Donate Life night, and they picked Lella to throw out the first pitch. Lella's catcher was former Rockies' third baseman Vinny Castilla, who is now on the Rockies' coaching staff, and is an advocate for organ donation. Continue reading


82-Year-Old Great-Grandmother Is South-East Asia's Oldest Kidney Donor

Malaysian Digest

When Simah Empaling saw her 50-year-old daughter, Ibi Uding, practically giving up on life when she was told both her kidneys had failed, she did what any mother would have done, offer one of her kidneys to her daughter.

Ibi was diagnosed with polycystic kidneys in 2012 and was depending entirely on dialysis to keep her alive by 2013, as reported by a local news daily.

Although Ibi's church group members back in Kuching, Sarawak had offered to donate their kidneys but organ-transplants from live donors who are not related to the organ recipient is not allowed in Malaysia.

When Ibi's husband was found to be unsuitable as a donor as well, her mother stepped in.

"When my mother saw me on dialysis, she broke down and said she could not see her child die before her," said Ibi.

Surprisingly, doctors found the 82-year-old grandmother of 25 and great-grandmother of 10 to be in great shape and fit enough to give up one of her kidneys to her daughter. Simah had spent her life toiling as a padi farmer and rubber tapper. Continue reading.


Lee Co. family encourages organ donations

My FOX AL | Nicole Rosales

CO., GA (WALB) - A Lee County family is speaking out to help encourage community members to become organ donors. It's part of organ donor awareness month. They believe donating their son's organs to help save the lives of others is the best way to give back.

He was an average teen - who enjoyed skateboarding and dreamed of serving his country when suddenly, Nick Pender's life was cut short.

"At times it hurt as much as it did when it first happened. But we know he's in a better place," Father Edward Pender said. "We know he's with friends and family and loved ones."

Nearly five years ago Nick was struck and killed by a car on Philema Road in Lee County. He was just 16 years old. His parents made the decision to donate his organs, Nick died a hero. Continue reading - FOX6 WBRC Birmingham, AL

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Grief, joy shows at dedication of wall for organ donors

St. Cloud Times | Stephanie Dickrell

Oak Newhouse, his wife Bev and daughter Vicki Mack look for Richard Newhouse in the new tribute wall titled “Honoring the Gift of Life,” that memorializes organ, tissue and eye donors after a dedication ceremony Wednesday at the St. Cloud Hospital. (Photo: Kimm Anderson,

Sandi Hagglund's organ donation story starts during a dark time.

Put simply: "It was hell."

Within two weeks in the summer of 2013, the Fairhaven resident lost her daughter Heidi Williams and her husband Rick Hagglund.

In the midst of the grief, there was hope. Heidi would live on in the more than 60 people who her organs and tissues could help save.

Heidi's story is similar to those of many organ donors that will appear as a tribute on a wall at the St. Cloud Hospital. The wall, named "Honoring the Gift of Life: A Tribute to Organ, Tissue and Eye Donors" was dedicated Wednesday.

Sandi cheerfully explained her experience with organ donation before becoming emotional.

Heidi, 40, was declared brain dead after taking morphine. In the intensive care unit, doctors checked Heidi's eyes for brain activity, and Hagglund just knew. Continue reading.


Organ, tissue donation urged

The Acorn

Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center joined more than 20 southern California hospitals and organizations promoting donation by flying “Donate Life” flags in honor of organ, eye and tissue donors.

The Flags Across America Campaign was part of a national effort to bolster organ and tissue donor registries in April, which is National Donate Life Month.

Hospital staff members flew 3-by-5-foot flags to motivate their communities to consider the benefits of organ donation and to then join the Donate Life California Organ and Tissue Donor Registry.

On April 20, Los Robles Hospital raised the Donate Life flag, which flew through the end of the month. Continue reading.


Pulling through challenges

LaGrange Daily News

Karen Kelley, 42, a psychology instructor at West Georgia Tech, stands inside West Georgia Medical Center. Kelley earned her bachelor's and master's degrees as a single mother on dialysis, with a son also on dialysis. Both received kidney transplants and said it has transformed their quality of life.

Every so often, Karen Kelley, a psychology instructor at West Georgia Tech, has a student who is ready to give up.

Sometimes it’s a single mother who is trying to further her education while balancing kids, school and work. Sometimes it’s a young person right out of high school who doesn’t believe enough in himself that he can earn a degree. Sometimes it’s a student with health issues who is struggling to stay in school while managing doctor’s appointments.

But when Kelley, 42, shares with them her story, they soon figure out that if she persevered despite the overwhelming medical and personal obstacles she had to overcome, then they can do it too. It also is the story of how a gift of an organ donation from a stranger improved her quality of life so dramatically.

Kelley’s story began 21 years ago when she had her only child, Roderick Boyd Jr. Continue reading.


Mt. Pleasant Township woman continues recovery from double lung transplant

Pittsburgh Tribune Review | AJ Panian

A.J. Panian | Trib Total Media In June 2013, United’s Karen Newill underwent a a double-lung transplant as a result of complications from a life-long battle with cystic fibrosis. To help pay for her continuing post-transplant medical expenses, a Children’s Organ Transplant Organization Paddle Auction Party fundraising event is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. Saturday at Kecksburg Volunteer Fire Department’s Memorial Hall on Water Street in Kecksburg.

Life has improved dramatically for United's Karen Newill since she underwent a double-lung transplant in June 2013, she said.

Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age 13, Newill, now 38, just celebrated her one-year anniversary with her boyfriend, and she spends time mentoring women awaiting similar medical procedures due to the disorder, which causes mucus to block airways, causing lung damage and making it difficult to breathe, she said.

“Every day, living is so much easier than it used to be,” Newill said. “It's so nice to get up in the morning and not cough ... I haven't coughed since the surgery.”

Earlier this year, Newill, a 1995 Mt. Pleasant Area graduate, was volunteering in case management at Excela Health Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant when the effects of a mild rejection of the lungs she received via the transplant landed her back in the hospital, she said.

“I continue my travels to Pittsburgh hospitals for ongoing testing to determine which form of treatment and medications are best as time passes,” Newill said. “My life still largely involves taking care of myself, but it has improved.” Continue reading.


Supervisor Federal Glover's new organs functioning well after transplant

San Jose Mercury News | Matthew Artz

SAN FRANCISCO -- After waiting nearly two months for a donor match, Contra Costa Supervisor Federal Glover received a new heart and kidney Wednesday and could return home sometime in June.

The transplanted organs were functioning well, his wife, Janis Glover, said from UCSF Medical Center where she and several friends and relatives waited out the 13-hour surgery.

"We're ecstatic," she said. "The heart is beating really strong. The kidney is working. The doctors said they are astonished that everything went so well."

Glover, a 58-year-old lifelong Pittsburg resident, was admitted to the hospital in late February after tests showed that he needed the double transplant as soon as possible. The organs sustained damage during Glover's 2007 bout with viral meningitis that left him hospitalized for a month.

Glover's medical condition placed him at the top of a 123,000-person donor waiting list, but that was no assurance that suitable organs -- both had to come from the same donor -- would be found quickly.

A heart can't be transplanted if it has been outside the body for more than five hours, which limits the pool of potential donors, according to Jeff Koertzen of Donor Network West, a nonprofit that arranges for organ transplants in Northern California. Continue reading.


LOPA representative speaks to Ascension Business Connection

Weekly Citizen

The Ascension Business Connection recently hosted repsentative, Nila Schwab with LOPA (Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency). Schwab spoke of April being “National Donor Life Month” and is a national observance to help the public learn more about registering as organ, eye and tissue donors.

Participants are asked to join in for the next ABC meeting on April 30. The speaker will be Kim Wells-Iris with Domestic Violence Center. ABC meets at 8 a.m. for an hour every Thursday at St. Elizabeth Hospital’s Sr. Linda Conference Room. The meeting includes breakfast. For more information about joining the group, call Pat Richardson at 715-5727. Continue reading


Organ Donation: One family's gift of life


According to LifeCenter Northwest, there are 123,000 people on a waiting list for life-saving transplants in the US, including nearly 3,000 people here in the Northwest. Every day, 21 of those people die.

The decision to donate organs is difficult, especially for parents who have just lost a child. Seven year old Jaden Griffin died in a tragic accident during a family outing last year. The little boy's dream of becoming a firefighter helped inspire his parents to donate his organs, saving two other lives in the process.

Governor Jay Inslee recently honored the Griffins and several other donors' families with The Gift of Life Award. Continue reading.


Organ donors honored at UF Health

NEWS 4JAX | Ekizabeth Campbell

Hospital receives national recognition for its organ donation accomplishments

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Dozens of local organ donors were honored for their life-saving decisions on Wednesday.

Forty one patients became organ donors at UF Health Jacksonville this past year and the hospital has received national recognition for its organ donation accomplishments.

"It’s really like a healing zone for our critical care nursing staff caring, for someone and their family who is giving the gift of life is not only technically very challenging but emotionally draining," said Cynthia Gerdik from the Critical Care and Trauma Flight Program at UF Health Jacksonville.

"I think it’s a great thing to have people sign up as organ donors and I encourage them to do so," said UF Health trauma medical director Andy Kerwin.

Kerwin and Cynthia Gerdik work side-by-side in the critical care and trauma department at UF Health. He says the giving tree is a reminder of how rewarding his job can be. Each leaf on the tree has the name of an adult donor and a butterfly with the names of kids. They represent those who gave the ultimate gift, the gift of life. Continue reading, VIDEO.





ABC 6 Delaware | Erin O'Hearn

NEWARK, Del. (WPVI) -- Organ transplants have saved countless lives. And new techniques and medications are improving both survival and the quality of life.

Now a Delaware family is trying to make them happen for more kids.

12-year-old Yusuf Patel's road to a liver transplant actually started in mid-air, as his family returned from vacation in India.

"He started breathing really fast. He become unconscious and almost slipped into a coma," recalls his father, Irfan Patel.

Fortunately, medical professionals traveling on the same plane were able to stabilize 9-month-old Yusuf while the jet made an emergency landing in Istanbul, Turkey.

Doctors there discovered he had the genetic disorder methylmalonic acidemia (MMA).

"Your body is not able to break up the excess protein," says Patel.

Since Yusuf's birth, MMA has been added to the list of disorders newborns in Delaware are routinely checked for.

A few years later, while Patel's wife Farheen Mohamed was carrying their daughter Khadija, prenatal tests showed Khadija, too, had MMA. Continue reading.


‘I Am Living Proof That Your Son Lives’

Missourian | Karen Cernich

Carla Poepsel, Washington, said she had accepted the fact that she was going to die in the early weeks of 2014 before she was able to receive a lung transplant that February.

Born with cystic fibrosis, Poepsel, wife of Curt Poepsel, said breathing had become so difficult and her lung function was so low that she had found the kind of peace that only comes from letting go of worldly things and worries.

Still, she wanted to live, and just 12 days after her name was added to the organ transplant list to await a match, a complete stranger became her hero when, in dying, he donated his lungs to her.

"I call him David," said Poepsel. "I don’t know his name, but I call him David," after the biblical David who was beloved, a servant of God, brave, a mighty leader who helped others.

"I also call him David because little David beat Goliath, and with David I was able to beat cystic fibrosis," said Poepsel, who received a successful lung transplant Feb. 7, 2014."I also call him David because little David beat Goliath, and with David I was able to beat cystic fibrosis," said Poepsel, who received a successful lung transplant Feb. 7, 2014. Continue reading.



MerleJam benefit concert raises awareness of organ transplants

KSHB | Alyson Bruner

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Heart transplant recipient Merle Zuel is celebrating the eighth annual MerleJam benefit this weekend. Zuel believes now is the time for people to understand that the donation of an organ can give someone else a second chance at life.

MerleJam, is a two-day benefit for the MerleJam Transplant Fund of the St. Luke’s Hospital Foundation. The event takes place this Friday and Saturday at Knuckleheads in Kansas City.

The schedules:

Friday: Jesse Dayton, Samantha Fish (country show), Outlaw Jim & the Whiskey Benders and Tater & the Gravy Train. Show time is 8 p.m. Admission is $15.

Saturday: Trampled Under Foot, Samantha Fish, Anthony Gomes and Baby Jason. Show time is 7 p.m. Admission is $20.

Every day an average of 79 people receive organ transplants; however, an average of 21 people die each day waiting for transplants that can't take place because of the shortage of donated organs, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For more info and tickets


For 'donor moms,' gift of life was only choice

Florida Today | Sara Paulson

The Cocoa Beach Kidney Walk is set for May 9 at Cocoa Beach Pier. Walking are Dee Hill, left, Mike Futch, Dawn Futch, organizer Bill Hahn, Mary Carpenter, Julie Newhouse and Pat Brown. (Photo: MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY)

Dee Hill has a perspective that nobody wants.

Her daughter, Cora, was born with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disease. At 20, she collapsed and was put on a ventilator in the intensive care unit at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

On Christmas Eve 2007, the doctor told Hill what no mother wants to hear: Cora's body was breaking down.

" 'I want you to get through Christmas and then you have some difficult decisions,' " Hill recalls.

But then, a life-saving gift arrived.

"Her miracle came later that day, and she was transplanted with new lungs on Christmas Eve," Hill said.

Cora was spiritually changed by the experience, Hill said. She often spoke of her donor, Erica, who had saved four lives that day. And Cora herself was adamant about organ donation.

"She started speaking out herself for those two years, telling everybody and being a walking billboard for this cause," Hill said. Continue reading.


How organ donation saved my grandma’s life

Sydney Daily News | Hunter Croft

Daniel Croft gave his mom, Grace Croft, a lifesaving gift in 2012.

Editor’s note: In honor of National Organ Donor Month, which is celebrated every April, a 12-year-old Sidney boy is sharing his story about someone he considers a hero, his dad.

SIDNEY — Almost three years ago my dad, Daniel Croft, did something that will always make him a hero in my eyes; he helped my grandma. He didn’t just help her, he helped her in a way nobody else in our family could by giving her one of his kidneys. Back then I didn’t really know what was going on, but my grandma had a disease called Microscopic Poliangitis, and she was very sick.

My dad was the fourth of six children born to Roy and Grace Croft. He was born and raised in Shawnee, Ohio. In 2010, after the diagnosis and many medications, the disease had damaged her kidneys to the point that they were not functioning as they should. She was told she would need a transplant.

When my dad and his siblings found out, they all got tested. My dad was the best match and after agreeing to donate one of his kidneys, he had to go through a series of tests to make sure that his kidney was able to be donated. He also many tests to make sure the rest of his body was healthy enough to undergo the procedure. He had visits with the transplant coordinator and doctors, and was informed of the potential risks of the surgery. Continue reading.


Glenwood Regional Medical Center Celebrates Organ Donation

WEST MONROE -- April is Donate Life Month and area hospitals are helping bring awareness to the need for organ donors.

Glenwood Regional Medical Center held a flag raising ceremony Wednesday afternoon.

Events like this are held across the country to honor those who have given the gift of life and to encourage others to become registered donors.

The Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency says one donor can impact the lives of more than 60 people. Continue reading.