Education Grant Recipient Pursuing Nursing Career  |  December 22, 2014

7 - Christenson, Sara - PhotoIn 2013, AlloSource began a 10-year partnership with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, pledging an annual financial contribution to fund their scholarship program. For more than 35 years, the Phoenix Society has worked with survivors, families, healthcare professionals and the fire industry to support recovery from burns, improve the quality of burn care and prevent burn injuries. Here is the story of a 2014 Education Grant Recipient.

After suffering a burn injury at a young age, Sara recognizes the challenge of growing up as a burn survivor. Instead of letting the experience weigh her down, she uses it to help others.

She volunteers at Shriners Hospital for Children, supporting young burn survivors through their recovery process. Sara travels to other Shriners hospitals to share her story and serves as a camp counselor at several different burn camps.

Survivors who were injured at a young age have the additional burden of growing up as a burn survivor,” she said. “Given the love, support and guidance of my family and friends I believe I have resumed life and am now focused on creating positive experiences for my community.”

Even with a rigorous academic course load, Sara still finds time to work in the pulmonary unit and hopes to serve as a patient care assistant with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Once she receives her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, Sara would like to pursue a Master’s of Science in Nursing.

Her life experience taught Sara that her burn injury is just a small part of who she is – a sentiment she will share with her patients.

I believe being a burn survivor shows my patients in rehabilitation that anything is possible. I am thrilled with my role as a nurse because I feel I can make the most impact on a patient’s outcome through direct care. I am extremely blessed to be doing what I love.”

Colorado High School Student to Promote Tissue Donation in 2015 Rose Parade  |  December 17, 2014

IMG_0944Jake Doud, a high school senior from Firestone, CO, will join 29 other transplant recipients from around the country riding aboard the 12th annual Donate Life float in the nationally televised Rose Parade on January 1 in Pasadena, CA. The 2015 Donate Life float, The Never-Ending Story, highlights the enduring power of organ, eye and tissue donation.

Doud received a bone and cartilage transplant in 2014 after suffering years of knee pain. His debilitating pain benched him from soccer, basketball and track. Doctors used donated bone and cartilage to replace his damaged tissue and realign the weight-bearing line in his leg. After his recovery time, Doud is healing and able to participate in many of his favorite athletic endeavors. He is profoundly grateful for the donated tissue that helped him heal and is excited for the opportunity to promote donation on a national scale.

AlloSource provided the allografts used in Doud’s surgery and is sponsoring his participation in the Rose Parade. The company is one of the nation’s largest providers of skin, bone and soft tissue allografts for use in surgical procedures, and the world’s largest processor of cellular bone allografts.

“Jake’s experience illustrates the healing possibilities of donated human tissue,” said Thomas Cycyota, AlloSource president and CEO. “We are proud to send a representative from Colorado to the Rose Parade and we know Jake’s story will help many people better understand the importance of tissue donation.”

Continue reading this story here.

Double Cartilage Transplant Recipient Reaches New Heights  |  December 10, 2014

John GoldenFor a man who was told he shouldn’t climb stairs, climbing Mt. Everest might seem an impossible, unreachable goal. Not for John Golden, who endured more than 20 knee surgeries over 20 years to repair injuries sustained from playing college football.

I really felt a lack of hope,” John said. “I wanted to get out and be active, but each time I did, it hurt. So I fell into that cycle of not being active because it was painful.”

When faced with another surgery, John had a wake-up call. He realized that he was constantly presented with lists of things he couldn’t do instead of things he could do. He researched the top orthopedic doctors and focused his treatment on being active again, and not just getting rid of the pain.

In my career, I challenged assumptions and advocated for myself, but not when it came to my health,” he said. “When working with previous doctors, I should have emphasized my desire for an active lifestyle and not just relief from pain.”

After talking with several doctors, John decided to work with Dr. Brian Cole at Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Cole performed a double cartilage transplant to replace the damaged tissue in his left knee and leg.

John completed nine months of intense physical therapy after the procedure. As his healing progressed, he realized that he could do more than he first thought possible. Even though he had some activity restrictions, John came up with the idea of climbing a mountain.

Though he had never climbed a mountain prior to his knee issues, John set his sights on Mt. Rainier. He continued with physical therapy and found an experienced mountain climber to help him train.

It was amazing,” said John. “Climbing Mt. Rainier was empowering on so many levels. To accomplish that after I’d been told I couldn’t do stairs was incredible.”

Never one to settle, John came up with a new goal: climbing Mt. Everest. He climbed 14 mountains in preparation for the expedition.

I had to change my entire body to get ready for Mt. Everest. I learned to ice climb, prepared myself for the climate, and worked with the team to develop a strategy for climbing the mountain.”

In 2009, John arrived in Kathmandu to start his once-in-a-lifetime climb. He spent 50 days on the mountain, enduring harsh conditions and pushing his body to the limit. As they approached the summit, a sheet of ice broke and caused John to fall. The dangerous weather and John’s injuries forced them off the mountain.

I am very grateful for my experience on Mt. Everest. I knew when I came back that I wanted to take this great journey and give it a voice. I was looking for a way to make my passion my life and give back to others.”

John got involved with company specializing in athletic training. He saw firsthand the benefits of personalized physical training and wanted to help others realize their goals.

John is currently the President of Product Pioneering at EXOS, a company specializing in proactive health and performance. EXOS trains professional athletes and military special operations groups and provides corporate game plans for large companies.

I wanted to help connect people with solutions that give them hope and purpose. I feel that it’s a great way of giving back because I wouldn’t be where I am today without the transplant.”

Burn Survivor Launching UV-Protective Clothing Line  |  December 5, 2014

1 - Anderson, Shelby - PhotoThough Shelby healed from her excruciating and uncommon burn injury, UV exposure is still a major concern for her. As a burn survivor with fair skin, finding UV-protective clothing that she wanted to wear was a challenge.

She decided to fill that gap in the market with her own company, Sol Sisters. The company hopes to provide fashion-forward, sun-sensitive young women with a one-stop shop for all their sun protective needs.

Shelby is trying to raise funds for her new venture through GoFundMe. Find more information about Sol Sisters and the opportunity to contribute to her campaign, visit her site.

Transplant Recipients Advocate for Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation in Colorado’s 9News Parade of Lights  |  December 4, 2014

Photo courtesy of Donor Alliance

Photo courtesy of Donor Alliance

On December 5 and 6, Colorado transplant recipients will escort the Gift of Life float in the 40th annual 9News Parade of Lights. The float is shaped like a gift box, representing the selflessness of donors and the hope made possible by organ, eye and tissue donation.

The transplant recipients escorting the float are part of Donate Life Colorado’s new awareness campaign, titled “My hero said yes.” The campaign features amazing stories of local transplant recipients.

Read more about this exciting event here.