At UPMC, organ donors lauded as Donate Life Month kicks off

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Over the past 11 years, Bob Dolence has taken a helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon, traveled around Europe, stood atop glaciers and zip-lined through jungles in Costa Rica.

He has celebrated wedding anniversaries, watched his children graduate and walked his daughter down the aisle.

None of it would have been possible without a double lung transplant procedure in 2006.

“I can only imagine the despair of the donor family,” Dolence said Friday at the UPMC Donate Life Flag Raising Ceremony, held to mark the beginning of National Donate Life Month.

“Hopefully, the burden of your loss will be lightened knowing that there are people like myself who have been able to experience more of life because of donors such as you and your family,” he said. “Our deep gratitude pales in comparison to the void created by your loss, (but) you have given other families much happiness and extended memories.”

Dolence addressed a crowd of about 75 people at UPMC Montefiore, most of whom have been affected by organ transplantation: surgeons, researchers and nurses, living donors, the family of deceased donors and donor recipients. Continue reading
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