Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nurse, liver recipient, pitches for organ donation awareness

Nurse Using Her Own Experience to Encourage Organ Donation

By Meryl Lin McKean
KANSAS CITY, KAN— A nurse from the University of Kansas Hospital will be throwing out the first pitch on Saturday evening before the Royals-Cubs game, but it's because of her remarkable past as a patient.

Kris Brees received a new liver 21 years ago after a long-term battle with an inherited disease, and it has been something that she has only rarely mentioned to coworkers. Now, she is using her experience to encourage others to become organ donors.

"There was nothing about her that would ever lead anyone to believe she'd had a liver transplant," said KU Hospital vice president Lila Martin.

But not only is Brees a transplant patient, "I was KU's first liver transplant patient," she says.

Brees was the first of the 872 liver transplants performed at the hospital to date, and afterwards she decided to give back by becoming a nurse.

On Saturday, Brees will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Royals-Cubs game. She hopes that her story will be a strong pitch for others to become organ donors, and to sign donor cards.

"She's a walking billboard to why organ transplant is successful and why we need to continue doing it," said Martin.

"I want them to see they have a chance to really do well," said Brees.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Register to be a donor in Ontario at
For other Canadian provinces click here
United States, (Select your state - top right)
United Kingdom, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save or enhance the lives of up to fifty people with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Life Begins with You

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