UNMH celebrates lives saved by organ donors


Hospital marks donor awareness month with 93 pinwheels

Sam Garcia, kidney donor with recipient Matthew Aguilar
The University of New Mexico Hospital is celebrating 93 lives saved by 36 organ donors at a ceremony on Wednesday, April 19.

The event marks April’s National Organ Donor Awareness Month. It will be held at 11 a.m. at the hospital’s Barbara and Bill Richardson Pavilion courtyard.

Ninety-three pinwheels – each symbolizing the power a person has to save lives through organ, eye and tissue donation – will be displayed at the event.

A donor family and a kidney recipient will also share their experiences.

“It is so important to start the conversation with our family now about being a donor and share life,” says Joanna Saczek, RN, UNMH transplant services director.

More than 700 New Mexicans are waiting for a transplant – and more than 460 of those on the list need a life-saving kidney or pancreas, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

UNOS says 247 patients are waiting for kidney transplants at UNMH.

Samuel Garcia, a living donor and UNMH employee, donated his kidney to Matthew Aguilar, who suffered from polycystic kidney disease. Continue reading
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