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Showing posts from June, 2016

Organ donor fondly remembered at fundraising dinner


The dining room at the West Valley Inn was decorated with bright shades of purple June 23. Men wore purple button-down shirts, women flaunted purple fingernails, and a flock of sisters, brothers, cousins, and in-laws wore T-shirts with purple block letters that read, “BE A HERO. BE AN ORGAN DONOR.” They all wore purple to remember their own hero, Melissa Sue Senecal, whose organ donations saved seven lives after she was killed in a car accident last month.

Melissa’s sudden death left her parents, SMSgt Michael Senecal and his wife, Wendy, with overwhelming funeral expenses. Michael’s coworkers at the Rhode Island Air National Guard quickly took action and organized Thursday’s dinner to help raise money.

“The military is a family and SMSgt Senecal has been a member of that family for a long time,” said Father Robert Marciano, commanding chaplain for the RI National Guard. “Melissa was their only child, that was their life. It was difficult, but we’ll get th…

Jason Barishman of Skokie thanks donor families at Transplant Games


Having received his heart transplant more than 20 years ago, the feeling of athletic accomplishment never gets old for Jason Barishman.

The 43-year-old Skokie resident recently competed in his sixth Transplant Games of America, representing Team Illinois in Cleveland in bocce, cornhole, darts and Texas hold'em poker. Like in his previous five trips, he brought home a medal, this time a bronze in mixed doubles cornhole.

This year, however, had a special significance for Barishman.

A skilled graphic artist, he designed the team's pin as well as a special pin to give to donor families. For an event that not only signifies new life for transplant recipients but also serves as an outlet for them to thank donor families in attendance, there was no better way, Barishman said, than to do just that by meeting and pinning them.

"The thing that keeps me going to these games is it's all about donor awareness. I guess one of the reasons t…

Organ donation: Two priests talk about gift of a lifetime


The story begins like this: On the morning of June 7, Father David Grundman woke up, said his prayers and began thinking about the day ahead. It was not unlike most mornings except for the fact that he was in a hospital room at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis, preparing to undergo major surgery.

This is where the story takes a suspenseful twist. You might wonder what illness or injury had befallen Father Grundman, pastor of St. Michael Parish in St. Cloud and St. Joseph Parish in Waite Park.

Those who know him well know the 55-year-old priest is in peak physical condition, always eating well, exercising regularly, full of energy.

Here is where the plot begins to thicken. Insert new character: Father Peter Kirchner, pastor of the parishes of St. Francis de Sales in Belgrade, St. Donatus in Brooten and Sts. Peter and Paul in Elrosa.

On Divine Mercy Sunday in 2013, Father Kirchner was spending time with some of his brother priests at a cabin on Lak…

Competing for organ donation


Knowing that without an organ donation a loved one will die is a scary situation.

For Glenwood resident Lynn Wayman, the decision to donate a kidney to his brother, Gerald, has resulted in a new appreciation for life.

Lynn and Gerald have used that new lease on life to compete in the Transplant Games of America in Cleveland, Ohio, June 10-14. This year marks the second time the brothers have competed.

The Waymans were part of a team of 25 other athletes who represented Utah and Idaho at the games. Every member of the team earned at least one medal. In all, 44 teams competed at this year’s games.

However, the Waymans totaled 31 medals between them, helping the Utah/Idaho team earn the team cup award at the games. Continue reading _______________________________________________________________________You have the power to SAVE LivesPlease register as an organ, eye and tissue donor today.In California:Donate LIFE California | Done VIDA CaliforniaNationwide:Organ Donor | …

'Giving my kidney a send-off:' Jacksonville woman starts a kidney donation chain stretching to 9 people

Jennifer Tamol was plenty nervous the evening before she went to the hospital to donate one of her kidneys to a complete stranger, someone in Minnesota who was awaiting his or her chance for a new, better life.

The operation, though, was not what worried Tamol: It was the prospect of playing her cello in St. John’s Cathedral downtown with the Civic Orchestra of Jacksonville. It’s a new volunteer group, and this was its first public performance.

She needn’t have worried. “The Light Cavalry Overture” got the orchestra off to a rousing start, and it did just fine on short pieces by Bizet and Beethoven.

As people left the church pews to congratulate the musicians, her husband, Jim Tamol, stood up. “She was nervous about this,” he said. “Now this is over, she can start to worry about that.”

“That,” of course, being the kidney donation. Continue reading_________________________________________________________You have the power to SAVE Lives We are asking you to re…

Organ donor saves lives after passing

KDIK | Angelina Dixon

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Saturday a celebration of life took place at the OK Ward Park in Chubbuck. A walk-a-thon event raised awarness for the importance of organ donation for people medically in need. Which was centered around a family who lost their daughter.

Almost three years ago, John and Marjolein Tonks lost Katie to a seizure.

“She was born with epilepsy, she was officially diagnosed when she was 12-years -old. And she passed away at the age of 24 due to brain trauma. Resulting from a grand mal seizure,” said John.

“And we rushed right to the hospital because that's where they took her. Her breathing stopped, her heart had stopped and they were able to resuscitate her,” said Marjolein.

But by the end of August 2013, Katie was on life support and her parents were told she was never going to wake up again. That's when they found out their daughter was an organ donor, according to her DMV identification card.

“We miss our daughter everyday and you kn…

When the Seriously Ill Want to Donate Organs

WALL STREET JOURNAL | Amy Dockser Marcus
Everyone agrees: David Adox’s wishes were clear.

In May, Mr. Adox, 44, an account planner in the advertising field, had been living with the neurological disease ALS for two years. Mr. Adox, who loved bike riding and participated in triathlons, had first noticed weakness in his legs while running to catch a train. The condition—amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease—robbed him of his ability to move his muscles. Eventually, he needed a breathing tube and a feeding tube, and couldn’t speak. His only form of communication was the use of his eyes, and it was increasingly a struggle to open them.

Mr. Adox told his husband, Danni Michaeli, that he wanted to stop life support and remove his ventilator. He also wanted to donate his organs after he died. That’s when things got complicated.

The effort to fulfill Mr. Adox’s last request highlights the kind of ethical nuances that often mark the process of organ donation, even in cases where …

Marfa organ donor completes procedure, bounces back quickly

BIG BEN NOW | John Daniel Garcia

Kerrville teen recovering after liver transplant


Missouri West Point Cadet Gives Life to Save Someone Else


FESTUS, Mo. -- In a Missouri town, friends and family are paying tribute to a West Point cadet who sacrificed his own life to save the life of someone else.

West Point cadet, Eagle Scout, athlete and good guy. These are the words used to describe 19 year old Tom Surdyke. His family and friends call him Tommy.

"Tommy's opportunity to be at West Point was an opportunity of a lifetime, and you could see Tommy flourishing while he was there, he truly enjoyed it," says Surdyke's former principal, Karen DeCosty.

The first year cadet lost his life last week after saving a man from a drowning while on vacation in Southampton, New York. He was swept under by a rip current and never recovered. Friends say he always did what he could to help others.

Jerry Woods is his former coach. "He was a great person and great people make great students and great players. And that's Tommy Surdyke. I don't have any daughters, I got three boys, but if had a daughter, h…

Family of tragic 22-year-old rugby player donate life-saving equipment

The family of 22-year-old Lily Partridge, who died after suffering a head injury during a rugby training match at North Tawton, have donated a defibrillator to a village in her name.

The family of a rugby player who died after suffering a head injury during a training match have given life-saving equipment to the seaside spot she loved.

Lily Partridge, 22, died in December following the accident at North Tawton's ground in Devon.

Her parents, Jeff and Liz Partridge, have now donated a defibrillator to the Devon village of Beer on what would have been her 23rd birthday. Continue reading
_________________________________________________________You have the power to SAVE LivesWe are asking you to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor today.In California:Donate LIFE California | Done VIDA CaliforniaNationwide:Organ Donor | Donate Life AmericaTo ensure donation happens, please share your decision with your family. At stake is the legacy you wish to leave.

Parents of kids with disabilities fight against transplant discrimination


BOSTON — The clock is ticking on a bill that would prevent discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities who need organ transplants.

According to one study, only about half people with intellectual disabilities receive transplant referrals and only one-third of those people ever get evaluated.

John and Jeanne Doherty were shocked when they found if their daughter Jessica ever needed an organ transplant, she could be denied on because of her disabilities.

"She's an important member of our family and she's a viable member of the community and people are better off for knowing her. She should have every right that everybody else has,” said Jeanne Doherty of Billerica.

Jessica, 20, has Down syndrome and Autism. Continue reading
 _______________________________________________________________________You have the power to SAVE LivesPlease register as an organ, eye and tissue donor today.In California:Donate LIFE California | Done VIDA CaliforniaNationwide:O…

Utah County man wins 3 gold, 2 silver in Transplant Games

KUTV | Chris Miller

Lindon, Utah — (KUTV)

The annual Transplant Games of America wrapped up in Cleveland earlier this month. Utah took home top honors as the most decorated state per capita.

A Utah County man helped lead the way by earning a medal in every event he entered. Justin Henderson won gold for tennis, racquetball and basketball. He won silver medals for volleyball and doubles tennis. He admits, while it's fulfilling to be back at the top of his game, he's trying to use the opportunity to encourage more people to become organ donors.

"It's very humbling to go from thinking you're on top of the world to barely being alive," said Henderson.

He has a large scar on his stomach, where doctors inserted a new kidney two years ago. He now has three kidneys. His two original organs are affected with a severe autoimmune disease called, IgA Nephropathy. His new kidney was donated by his own living sister and it saved his life. Continue reading

Need is greater than ever' for organ donation, OSF St. Mary president says


GALESBURG — OSF St. Mary Medical Center raised a flag to raise awareness Wednesday. The "Donate Life" banner is a reminder about organ and tissue donation.

In Illinois, over 5,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant, OSF St. Mary President Roxanna Crosser said, and the average person waiting for a kidney has to wait three to five years.

"The need is greater than ever," Crosser said.

Lori Kohl spoke about receiving a kidney 15 years ago as she was suffering from Alport syndrome and her kidney function had dropped from 36 to 12 percent in less than a year.

"My donor's name was Jordan, and she was 2 years old when she died," Kohl said. "I don't know much about her story or what led to her family choosing to donate her organs, but I do know that Jordan's story continues through me and the other people she helped." Continue reading __________________________________________________________________…

Happy Meal boxes now feature Sudbury tot's transplant story

SUDBURY | Heidi UlrichsenA drawing by the mother of a three-year-old Sudbury boy who received a kidney transplant last year is featured on the Happy Meal boxes currently being used by McDonald's restaurants across Canada.

Taylum Lamoureux was born April 10, 2013, with polycistic kidney disease, and had one of his kidneys removed when he was just five weeks old. His remaining kidney was removed just five weeks after that.

Because he had to be on regular dialysis at Toronto's SickKids Hospital, Taylum lived at Ronald McDonald House in the city for some two years, waiting on a kidney donation.

The boy finally received a transplant May 13, 2015, from a living donor who was touched by his story. Continue reading_________________________________________________________You have the power to SAVE Lives We are asking you to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor today.In California:Donate LIFE California | Done VIDA CaliforniaNationwide:Organ Donor | Donate Life AmericaTo ensure donat…

The Final Gift

THE SLATE | Jacob Brogan 
Social media and the internet are making it easier than ever to donate your organs.

Concerned about CTE, Ranger great Mike Richter says he'll 'probably' donate brain to science

NY DAILY NEWS | Christian Red
It has been almost 13 years since former Rangers goaltender Mike Richter bid a tearful good-bye to his NHL playing days, after two concussions he suffered within an eight-month period forced him into retirement.

Although Richter, 49, says now that his health is “good” and that he leads an active life, including playing non-contact hockey in a men’s recreational league, the concussion issue that has dominated the sports headlines in recent years has forced Richter to strongly consider donating his own brain to science, just as several deceased NFL players – Junior Seau and Dave Duerson among them – did before taking their own lives.

“Probably,” says Richter, when asked if he’ll donate his brain after his death. “It’s not a particularly happy thought, but in a sense, it is (rewarding) because you’re helping other people. I’m on an organ donors’ (list) for the rest of my body. My mother had inclusive myositis, an MS-type disease, and donated her body to science…

Ralston Firefighter waits for lungs after approval for double lung transplant surgery


RALSTON, Neb. (WOWT) - After months of waiting, a Ralston firefighter passed a major hurdle this week. He's one step closer to getting a double lung transplant.

Ralston Firefighter Mike Bramhall was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 4 months old; the reality that one day his lungs wouldn't be able to keep up with the disease is something he's always known would happen. The Ralston community has rallied around him and Bramhall said he couldn't be more grateful for the support he’s received.

"To know that that many people are behind you, supporting you is a pretty awesome feeling,” Bramhall told WOWT 6 News.

Bramhall has been overwhelmed; not only by the support he has received, but also by the news he has been approved to get a life-saving procedure.

"I've been shaking all day. I've just been super excited. Obviously nervous," Bramhall said. Continue reading
_______________________________________________________________________You have the…

Indiana tech company takes to space to 3D-print a heart substitute


Southern Indiana company miles from the interstate and close to the middle of nowhere is working with NASA on a project. But that's normal for Techshot Inc.

John Vellinger, co-founder of Greenville-based Techshot, has worked with the national space agency for nearly 30 years, since winning an eighth grade science fair sponsored by NASA. Although the original science fair project focused on developing chicken embryos in space, the partnership has a new focus: creating human organs in zero gravity.

On June 14, Techshot helped create the first 3D heart bioprint, which can be used as a substitute for a heart. It was made from adult stem cells printed in zero gravity. The development will help people who need transplants, whether they're on earth or in space.

The project required three layers — ink, printer and bioreactor — and, therefore, three companies. Techshot teamed up with Florida-based bioprinter nScrypt Inc. and Kentucky-based bioink creator Bioficial Organs Inc.…

3 Men Connected Through the Gift of Life

KAAL TV | Meghan Riestad

ABC 6 News) - John McWilliams is a biology teacher and high school football coach in Houston, Texas. In 2014, he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease and needed a new liver and his doctor urged him to go out and find a donor, "Eventually I would have qualified but it would have taken anywhere from a year and a half to two and a half years," said McWilliams.

So he brought up the idea of organ donation to his fellow coaching staff,"I got up and said, ‘Hey guys, if there's anyone in the room that would like to donate part of their liver to me I’d be more than happy to take it.’”

That's when Matthew Beeler, volunteered. "We teach and coach for a reason and it's because we have this innate desire to help people. How do you pass up the opportunity to do something great?" said Beeler in a previous interview with KTRK.

And as it turns out, McWilliams’ liver may not have worked for his body, but it would work for Randy Myers from…

Healthtera Implements New Program to Give Living Organ Donors Free Telemedicine Benefits


PHOENIX, June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Healthtera, a supplemental health benefits company that offers 24/7 telemedicine solutions powered by HealthiestYou (HY), announced the roll-out of its Living Donor Family Sharing Program to support the courageous individuals who have sacrificed a piece of themselves to save someone's life. In response to a nationwide effort to expand post-donation medical support access for living donors, this unprecedented program enables live-organ transplant recipients enrolled in Healthtera's family telemedicine plan to offer their living donors an extra layer of medical protection by adding them onto their family telemedicine plans at no additional charge.

"I consider Healthtera's Living Donor Family Sharing Program revolutionary. Not only is it setting a precedent for raising the bar in living donor protections; it's providing live-organ transplant recipients with a new way to honor and protect those directly responsible for…

Camco residents win big at Transplant Games

COURIER POST | Matt Powers

PHILADELPHIA - Two Camden County residents won big at the 2016 Donate Life Transplant Games earlier this month.

Astrid Deleon, of Lindenwold, and Santhosh Balany, of Cherry Hill, traveled to Cleveland to compete on the Gift of Life Donor Program's Team Philadelphia, going head-to-head with more than 6,000 athletes from across the country. The event took place from June 10-15.

Balany, a kidney recipient, won a gold medal in table tennis. Deleon, a liver and kidney recipient, won a bronze medal in darts.

The Transplant Games is a biennial Olympic-style competition for organ, corneal, bone marrow and tissue transplant recipients and living donors.
Team Philly was made up of 78 organ transplant recipients, 15 living donors and 26 donor family members. The team, ranging from ages 6 to 73, dominated the Games, bringing home more than 100 medals – 25 bronze, 35 silver and 40 gold. Continue reading

Mayo Clinic Makes Strategic Investment in Transplant Genomics

Transplant Genomics has announced a collaboration with the Mayo Clinic to develop, validate, and commercialize diagnostic tests enabling personalized immunosuppression for solid organ transplant recipients. As part of the multiyear collaboration, Mayo Clinic will make an investment in Transplant Genomics for an undisclosed amount.

Additionally, both companies with work together on co-development of new tests and technologies for additional targets, including exploratory studies in heart and liver transplantation.

Physicians and researchers are participating at Mayo Clinic campuses in Arizona, Florida and Rochester, Minnesota. Principal investigators include: Mark Stegall, M.D., Raymond Heilman, M.D., and Martin Mai, M.D., Mayo Clinic Transplant Center. Continue reading _______________________________________________________________________You have the power to SAVE LivesPlease register as an organ, eye and tissue donor today.In California:Donate LIFE California | Done …

Call for lessons in schools on organ donation


JERSEY schools should ‘lead the way’ and introduce lessons to educate students about organ transplantation, a charity which aims to increase the number of Islanders on the donor register has said.

Hospital consultant and co-founder of the Love Hearts Appeal Neil MacLachlan said that the Island needs to improve its registration numbers.

To combat the low number of donors on the register Mr MacLachlan says he has now spoken to Education Minister Rod Bryans about introducing lessons for students aged between 11 and 16.

‘Jersey remains appallingly bad compared to England with only ten per cent of registrations in comparison to England who have rates of 30 per cent,’ Mr MacLachlan, whose daughter Catherine underwent a heart transplant at the age of 15, said. Continue reading  _______________________________________________________________________You have the power to SAVE LivesPlease register as an organ, eye and tissue donor today.In California:Donate LIFE California | Do…

Heart recipient celebrates with Gift of Life

POST BULLETIN | Lauren Kotajarvi
May 25, 2014, Jimmy Dunbar suffered a heart attack in his Rochester home. He was a healthy and active 49-year-old.

A week later, the stents doctors had put into his heart collapsed, causing another heart attack.

"I should have died from that heart attack," Dunbar said. "The EMT's and ER staff did CPR on me for 45 minutes."

His only hope for survival was to receive a heart transplant.

Dunbar was the featured speaker for the 32nd annual Gift of Life Golf Tournament at the Rochester Golf and Country Club on Monday. Continue reading _______________________________________________________________________You have the power to SAVE LivesPlease register as an organ, eye and tissue donor today.In California:Donate LIFE California | Done VIDA CaliforniaNationwide:Organ Donor | Donate Life America ensure donation happens, please share your donation decision with your family. At stake is the legacy you plan to leave.

Olivia Steele owes her life to an organ donor she has never met and is spending her life giving back

DAILY TELEGRAPH | Jillian McKee, Mt Druitt-St Marys Standard

Olivia Steele owes her life to an organ donor she has never met.

The 14-year-old, of Glendenning, was born with a rare liver disease and was told by doctors she may not live to see her first birthday.

The now healthy teenager is featured in Gifted, a new campaign for Transplant Australia which aims to promote organ and tissue donation in the lead-up to the Australian Transplant Games in Western Sydney in September.

Olivia and her family waited more than seven months for a donor, and received that much-anticipated call before just before she turned one.

Mother Lisa Steele said they had almost given up hope. Continue reading _______________________________________________________________________You have the power to SAVE LivesPlease register as an organ, eye and tissue donor today.In California:Donate LIFE California | Done VIDA CaliforniaNationwide:Organ Donor | Donate Life America ensure donation happens, please share your d…

Heart transplant recipient has emotional meeting with teen organ donor's mother

WBRC FOX 6 NEWS | Forrest Sanders

CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A West Tennessee woman is alive thanks to a Clarksville teenager's decision. Tuesday, the recipient offered a gift only she could give to that teenager's mother.

"I'm just scared," laughed Stephanie Smith of Dyersburg, sitting in the Vanderbilt Medical Center admittance area.

Nerves were high for Smith as she watched each car pulling up to Vanderbilt, not sure what she'd do when a certain someone arrived.

"I don't know until it happens," she said.

Smith was meeting the mother of the teenager who saved her life.

Arianna Spencer, 19, of Clarksville was an athlete, a softball player, a prankster and a girl always making up songs and raps. Continue reading
WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL ______________________________________________________________________You have the power to SAVE LivesPlease register as an organ, eye and tissue donor today.In California:Donate LIFE California | Done VIDA Califo…