Explore news and events from organ procurement organizations around the country. These important groups do incredible things to promote the cause of tissue donation.
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Two years after his cartilage transplant, Phil honored his tissue donor by competing in his first CrossFit competition, taking third place in his division. Six months ago, he joined Full Dimension CrossFit, a local CrossFit gym, to challenge himself. He not only found a new passion, but also an incredible community of support in his fellow athletes and coaches.
Phil also received the “Spirit of CrossFit Wars 2016” award for his strength, courage, inspiration and showing up daily without complaint. “I did this for my donor,” said Phil. “I wish the donor family knew how much I cherish this gift that I was so fortunate to receive.”
Phil feels fortunate to train with the amazing athletes and coaches who inspire him daily. Working hard every day is how Phil maximizes the gift he was given, honoring his donor by pushing himself and getting stronger.
Congratulations to Phil on this exciting milestone!
Denver Broncos running backs coach Eric Studesville recently shared his personal connection to donation and how it has impacted his life. While enduring a devastating personal loss, Studesville has found hope and solace in working with Donor Alliance to promote organ, eye and tissue donation.
Read more about this story here.
Through a simple sign up process, iPhone users can learn more and take action with just a few taps. All registrations submitted from iPhone are sent directly to the National Donate Life Registry managed by Donate Life America. The ability to quickly and easily become a nationally-registered donor enables people to carry their decision with them wherever they go.
Read more about this exciting partnership here.
Stefan Wilson has teamed up with Indiana Donor Network to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation through the #Driven2SaveLives campaign.
Stefan’s connection to donation is incredibly personal. His brother, IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, passed away in August 2015 from injuries sustained in a crash at Pocono Raceway. Justin had previously registered his decision to become a donor and discussed this with his wife. On the worst day of his family’s life, Justin gave them a beacon of hope through his final lifesaving act of donation and became a hero to five individuals who received his gift of life.
Read more about Stefan’s passion for donation here.
When Sarah and Ross Gray found out that one of their unborn twins had a terminal condition called anencephaly, they made a decision that would send them on an unexpected journey. The Grays donated Thomas’ organs and tissues to research and later got the unique opportunity to meet the researchers who honored his donation.
Sarah recently shared her story in a TedTalk and you can listen to her miraculous experience here.
The organization is partnering with the National Disease Research Interchange to recover donor brains to help researchers at the University of Maryland’s Brain and Tissue Bank explore the behavioral causes associated with Autism, a complex disorder of brain development, that according to Autism Speaks, affects one out of 68 births in the United States.
“We are thankful to the donor and donor family for this precious gift that will help researchers continue to shed light on the different facets of this disorder and potentially bring hope to the many people impacted by autism,” said Brian Roe, senior managing director of tissue services and communication center operations. “LifeGift is privileged to be among the nine organ and tissue recovery agencies participating in this project, which has the potential to change medical history.”
Read more about this partnership here.
February 14 is National Donor Day, a day designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to honor generous donors and raise awareness about organ, eye, tissue, marrow, platelet and blood donation.
We are thankful for a designated Donor Day and hope every day provides an opportunity to honor all donors who gave the gift of life and recognize those who received a donation, are on the waitlist or did not receive a donation in time.
Since 1974, Mid-America Transplant has facilitated the organ and tissue donation process for a service area of 4.7 million people in eastern Missouri, southern Illinois, and northeast Arkansas.
Formerly known as Mid-America Transplant Services, the organization launched their new name and look to enhance and clarify their purpose: to make more lifesaving transplants a reality through organ and tissue donation.
Read more about their exciting change here and watch the video below.
When Sarah Gray and her husband Ross found out that one of their twins wouldn’t live very long after birth, they made the brave decision to donate his organs and tissues for research. This is the Gray family’s story of strength, love and the amazing potential of the gift of life.
The Gray family has been on an incredible journey to learn about their son’s contributions to science and meet the researchers who honored his donation.
Listen to their Radiolab interview here.
Zion Harvey’s childhood came to a halt when he faced a devastating infection resulting in the amputation of his hands and feet when he was just two years old.
Now eight years old, he has the chance to be a kid again after receiving a double hand transplant in a groundbreaking surgery performed this month at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Zion is currently recovering and is looking forward to the little things, like holding his little sister and playing on the playground.
“I hoped for somebody to ask me do I want a hand transplant and it came true,” Zion said.
Continue reading this incredible story here.
After Katie McDevitt passed away in 1980, her family knew they wouldn’t have a traditional funeral. Katie left her body to science, hoping to help advance medical research in any way she could.
Her family was astonished when they recently learned just how much their mother contributed. Katie’s gift, along with gifts from 29 other donors, were featured in a landmark anatomy textbook that thousands of medical students have studied and still use today.
“I was elated,” her daughter, Kate, said. “My father said it wasn’t surprising because of our mother’s generous heart. My mother was that loving, spiritual, faithful, wonderful person who served others, who was always concerned with the needs of others. She was 39 years old and bent on making a difference, and that’s why it made sense that she wanted to give her body to medicine.”
Continue reading this incredible story here.
The Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation and Donate Life America Launch New Observance: Donate Life ECHO | July 7, 2015
ECHO stands for Every Community Has Opportunity and is being launched to increase engagement with African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino and other multicultural communities.
ECHO’s objective is to emphasize the importance of sharing one’s personal decision to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor and encouraging others to do the same.
You can learn more about this new observance here.
After an aggressive infection, Will Lautzenheiser lost all four limbs. Though he was devastated by the loss, he was determined to accept his new reality and move on with his life. His motto became “figure it out.”
When a doctor approached Lautzenheiser about the possibility of a double arm transplant, he weighed the pros and cons of the extensive procedure. In October of 2014, he endured a nine hour surgery and became one of the few double arm transplant recipients in the country.
He recently shared an update on his progress and how grateful he is to the donor and donor family who made it all possible.
“This is an individual who has a family who is grieving and all I can hope for is that they will consider this a way for their loved one to make a huge difference for me.”
Two families forever changed by horrible accidents recently met to see firsthand the incredible possibilities of donation.
After a shotgun accident disfigured Richard Norris’ face, he became depressed and reclusive. He endured surgery after surgery, each an attempt to give him a chance at a normal life. Finally, one surgery offered him some hope, and it happened because of the generosity of strangers.
Joshua Aversano’s family was devastated when the 21-year-old died after a traffic accident, but they made the brave choice to donate Joshua’s face. During a 36-hour-long surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center, 150 doctors and nurses honored Joshua’s gift and helped give Richard new hope.
Joshua’s sister, Rebekah, recently had the opportunity to meet Richard and see for herself how her brother lives on through donation.
California Transplant Donor Network recently changed its name to Donor Network West to better identify the organization and more accurately describe its area of expertise. The new name reflects the organization’s commitment to practicing excellence and compassion in the journey of the donated gift.
Watch the video below to learn more about Donor Network West.
A near-fatal infection robbed Will Lautzenheiser of his arms and legs, but not his sense of humor.
Despite facing a grave medical ordeal, the filmmaker and teacher maintained his trademark wit and found healing in laughter.
In late 2014, he received a double arm transplant. Thanks to a generous donor, Will is able to begin a new chapter in his life. Here & Now’s Robin Young caught up with Will and his twin brother, Tom, about the transplant and his new possibilities.
Continue reading this story and listen to the interview here.
Donor Alliance, the organ procurement organization serving Colorado and Wyoming, announced several milestones in donation for 2014. The number of tissue donors increased 35% from 2013’s record year, with 1,590 generous tissue donors providing enough tissue to heal or save the lives of an estimated 159,000 people.
Donor Alliance also announced the addition of 950,000 names to the state donor registries in 2014. The donor designation rate, or percentage of individuals joining the state donor registry, was at an all-time high in 2014, with 67.7% of Colorado’s licensed drivers and ID card holders on the registry and 59.58% in Wyoming. The two states have some of the highest donor designation rates in the country.
Read more about 2014’s landmark year here.
Donate Life America will be competing against seven other charities.
Cast your vote here. You can vote once per day until November 25 at 11:59 p.m. (ET).
Help Donate Life America spread the word about organ, eye and tissue donation!
Richard Mangino’s life changed drastically when he lost all four limbs from a bloodstream infection. He was no longer able to play music or toss a football with his grandchildren – until a history-making double hand transplant gave him new hope.
Nearly three years after the surgery, Mangino is making music again. He has returned to playing piano and soon hopes to play guitar. He is grateful for the transplant that made his return possible, and looks forward to his new possibilities.
Watch Richard’s touching story below.
Joey Gase never expected to become an advocate for organ, eye and tissue donation, but the sudden, devastating death of his mother changed Joey’s life and his career. Racing has always been Joey’s passion, and now he uses it as a platform to educate the public about donation. Joey uses his time in the spotlight as a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver to highlight donors, like his mother, who have given the gift of life.
Joey’s story was recently featured in Transplants News – read his interview here.
Hundreds of people will participate in the 12th annual Donate Life Texas 2nd Chance Run to raise awareness about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. The event provides an opportunity for those touched by donation on both the donor side and recipient side to celebrate life.
For the Vento family, this year marks the second anniversary of the loss of their son. Xander was a happy, loving boy who lost his life while saving a friend from drowning in a community pool. Though Xander’s life was short, he saved not just one life, but many through the gift of donation. His family will honor his legacy this year at the 2nd Chance Run.
More information about the event can be found here.
Hear from Xander’s father in the video below.
Charles Wiltz Jr. has a unique perspective on the opportunities made possible by the gift of life; Charles works as a tissue donation specialist with LifeGift and is the son of both a donor and recipient.
Charles’ mother, Geraldine, needed a kidney transplant due to complications from kidney disease. Twelve years passed before she finally received the gift she had been waiting for. The transplant that saved Geraldine inspired her husband to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor. When Charles’ father passed away, his corneas and tissue provided life-saving and life-enhancing possibilities for many recipients.
Charles recently shared his story with Texas Medical Center News in celebration of National Donate Life Month – read the article here.
Nearly 1 million tissue transplants are performed every year, and the need for life-saving and life-enhancing donated tissue is on the rise. Donated tissue is used in a variety of medical procedures that can save limbs, heal burns, repair joints and more.
Exciting developments in the medical field have created more ways to maximize the gift of donated tissue, but with new discoveries comes a growing call for tissue donors.
A recent article by The Telegram & Gazette explores the need for more people to register as organ, eye and tissue donors.
Started in 2003 by Donate Life America and its partnering organizations, National Donate Life Month (NDLM) features national and local activities to honor those who gave the gift of life and encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors.
Each year, Donate Life America designs artwork to symbolize the meaning of NDLM. The 2014 artwork features a kite because it is a symbol of hope and it appeals to people of all ages. The Donate Life America team was also inspired by spring, the season of new life. The kite might represent hope for a much-needed transplant or a connection to a donor. For recipients, the image may symbolize the freedom and new life a transplant has provided them.
NDLM is full of chances to celebrate life and the opportunities made possible by donation.
Visit the Donate Life America website to learn more about donation and register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor.
Traci Graf worked as a transplant coordinator for two and a half years, but her experiences in the field will stay with her for the rest of her life. Transplant coordinators work in a medically complex and emotionally challenging field where they balance the needs of the patient, patient’s family, medical team and potential recipients.
The long hours and stress caused Traci to switch to a nursing career, but her passion for the transplantation industry is unchanged. Traci saw firsthand the heart-wrenching decisions made by donor families forced to say goodbye to a loved one. She also witnessed the joy of patients given another chance at life thanks to a donor. She details her experience in a new book titled Gift of Life: Behind the Scenes of Donor Organ Retrieval.
She discussed her former job and why she felt compelled to write a book here.