'Counted among the best': Organ donors, Tulsa transplant center honored during National Donate Life Month

TULSA WORLD | John Klein

St. John Transplant Center is only 5 star-rated facility in the state

Stephanie Baker made a life-saving decision when she donated her teenage daughter’s organs.

Years later she became a donor recipient.

“It is one of the most wonderful things any person can do,” said Baker. “It saves so many lives.”

The need for organ and tissue donors is on the rise, so donors, recipients and their families were recently honored at an event celebrating National Donate Life Month and National Organ & Tissue Awareness Month.

The St. John Transplant Center was recently awarded the only five-star rating in Oklahoma by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients and held the event in partnership with LifeShare of Oklahoma, a program that pairs donors with recipients.

Last month, medical officials, donors, recipients, and families gathered for a flag-raising and balloon release at St. John Medical Center.

“We are very proud that our outcomes are some of the best in the region,” said Haley Lewis, outreach coordinator at the St. John Transplant Center. “We’ve been here for 30 years and continue to grow our program.

“It is really wonderful to see what happens here. We are able to often turn what was a tragedy into something wonderful.”

Baker of Talala and Cheryl Manley of Claremore are both mothers of donors and recipients.

In fact, Manley was a kidney donor to Baker. Continue reading