Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chardon High School victim Demetrius Hewlin donated organs by choice

This was indeed a very sad day for an Ohio high school and for the victims, families, friends and students. Words cannot express the grief and shock but if there's anything positive to come out of this it's the Gift of Life that Demetrius Hewlin passed on to others who are waiting for a transplant.

By Stan Donaldson, The Plain Dealer
CHARDON, Ohio -- Students who knew Demetrius Hewlin have recalled how the teen often worked out in the Chardon High School gym and liked to build up his body.
But others will remember 16-year-old bodybuilder, one of three students fatally wounded in shootings Monday at the high school, for the hope his harvested organs will give to people in need of them.
The families of Demetrius and fellow student, Russell King, made the donations Tuesday through Lifebanc, a Northeast Ohio agency that matches organs, eyes and tissue with patients awaiting transplants.
Shooting victim Demetrius Hewlin. WKYC Channel 3
Demetrius, who had a driver's license, was an organ donor by choice, said Lifebanc spokeswoman Haddie Bartholomew. But because he was under 18, his family had the final say.
She said one organ donor can save up to eight lives and can enhance the lives of 50 people through tissue donations.
“We feel privileged to honor the wishes of both Demetrius Hewlin and his family to give the gift of life during this most tragic time,” Lifebanc Chief Executive Gorden Bowen said in a statement.
Chardon Police Chief Tim McKenna said Demetrius died at MetroHealth Medical Center at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. McKenna did not specify where the teen was shot.
Trees in Demetrius’ neighborhood were lined with red ribbons and flowers. He lived in a white, multi-level house near the school. The family issued a statement after his death asking that everyone respect their privacy
Read more

“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS 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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Canadian woman part of longest kidney transplant chain

By BARBARA TURNBULL, LIFE REPORTER healthzone.ca
Josephine Bonventre wanted to donate a kidney to an American cousin. It wasn't a perfect match but she became part of a 60-person transplant chain and her cousin got the kidney he needed.
When Toronto realtor Josephine Bonventre discovered a distant cousin needed a transplant, she decided almost instantly to donate a kidney.
Her blood is Type O making her a universal donor and compatible with her cousin Cesare Bonventre’s Type B blood. But the tile worker in Brooklyn, NY, had anti-bodies which made the match less than ideal.
It was this non-perfect match that lead Bonventre to participate in a 60-person kidney transplant chain that took place last year in the U.S. — the longest in history.

Kidney transplant chains shorten the wait for wellness
When her cousin first asked her to donate that kidney to a stranger, to enable him to get a better match from someone else, she needed to sleep on it, she says, reflecting on the unusual circumstances. Though her family was supportive of her decision to donate to her cousin — even though he was her fifth cousin, lived across the border and was someone she didn’t know well – they were not on board with the turn of events. They urged her to think of her two children; they suggested she didn’t know what she was getting into.
“I woke up with fresh thoughts and thought `Why not give it to a stranger? I’ll be helping another person and he’ll be getting a match that’s better for him,’” she says nearly three months after the transplant took place.
And so Bonventre, 41, became part of Chain 124, the longest chain of kidney transplants ever constructed, linking 30 willing donors with 30 recipients who needed the life-saving procedure. The extraordinary story was chronicled in The New York Times last weekend. All but one of the 60 people involved agreed to be identified for the story. Ordinarily strict confidentiality keeps donor and recipient apart.
The domino chain of 60 operations began with one Good Samaritan, a California man named Rick Ruzzamenti, who after hearing of someone who donated a kidney to an ailing friend, made an impulsive decision to donate too. Four months, 17 hospitals and 11 states later, Donald C. Terry Jr., of Joliet, Ill., who had no one in his circle able or willing to donate, received the kidney that completed the chain.
Bonventre went to Brooklyn for preliminary testing, went back one week prior to surgery and stayed for 10 days afterward. One month later, she checked in with her family doctor. The only other involvement of the Canadian medical system was having blood drawn and sending the results to the Brooklyn transplant center.
She needed a month to recover fully, but the procedure was a resounding success. “He feels fantastic,” Bonventre says. “He has more energy than he’s had in a long time.”
And her?
I’m good. It’s surreal, like it never happened,” she says. “I feel 100 per cent normal.”
The experience was life changing in the best possible way, she says. “It’s totally worth it.”
“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS 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.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Secondhand Smoke Causes Transplant Rejection

Second-hand smoke hurts everyone. Second-hand smoke contains the same 4,000+ chemicals that are inhaled by a smoker. At least 50 of the chemicals found in second-hand smoke are known to cause cancer. These chemicals contribute directly to diseases like asthma, heart disease and emphysema -- for smokers and non-smokers alike. I've long been an advocate for the dangers of second-hand smoke and I commend dailyRX.com for this article that I hope will help to convince smokers of the dangers they may be exposing their loved ones to if they are transplant candidates.

Cigarette smoke believed to suppress enzymes that assist graft survival
dailyRX.com
In a recent study presented by the American Journal of Transplantation, researchers found that mice that were exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS) four weeks before receiving a graft transplant rejected the treatment.
Zhenhua Dai, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Texas Health Science Center, tested groups of mice to investigate the cause and effect of secondhand cigarette smoke on certain transplant procedures.
Dr. Dai found that SHS negatively affected the graft survival in mice who received the procedure. 
Secondhand smoke is also bad - stop smoking.  
By using a log-rank system, Dr. Dai was able to perform survival tests on the graft recipients and found that SHS suppresses enzymes that grafts normally produce to aid their survival.
According to this study, SHS suppresses the production of CD154, a protein that is normally activated in T-cells and that help regulate the immune system while over-stimulating indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase(IDO), which is an immunoregulatory enzyme often expressed by tumor cells.
While it is uncertain if SHS is the sole cause in the graft rejection, it is now believed that an immunological mechanism plays a role in the survival of surgical transplants, of which SHS hinders.
"Our findings will definitely promote the public awareness of the smoking problem with transplanted patients, which in turn could save their lives by either quitting smoking or avoiding exposure to second hand smoke after transplantation," said Dr. Dai.
The clinical study was lead by Dr. Zhenhua Dai of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Center for Biomedical Research, University of Texas Health Science Center, Tyler, TX. The American Journal of Transplantation first published it in November 2011. No financial conflicts were found.
Tobacco Addiction
One out of every five people in the United States are addicted to cigarettes, or about 61 million people. Even more millions use smokeless tobacco and cigars.
The Centers for Disease Control lists tobacco use as the single most important preventable risk to human health. Tobacco is used by smoking or chewing it to get the pleasurable ,but ultimately addicting effects of nicotine. Tobacco use has been proven to cause heart disease, strokes, emphysema, chronic obstructive lung disease, and cancer of the lungs, bladder, throat, mouth, and pancreas.

“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS 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.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Liver recipient encourages Australians to become organ donors

.. every year, on the anniversary of the liver transplant that saved him, he writes a letter to the anonymous family of the donor.... "I will continue to say thanks for as long as I live,"

By Adrian Taylor, The Morning Bulletin

STEVE Griffin has no idea who gave him a second chance at life.

But every year, on the anniversary of the liver transplant that saved him, he writes a letter to the anonymous family of the donor.

"I will continue to say thanks for as long as I live," said the Yeppoon State High School teacher yesterday.

Born with a genetic disease, Steve was told by doctors he would be lucky to survive beyond 12.

And when he developed glandular fever at age six his chances immediately plummeted.

"I wouldn't have made it without the new liver," he said.

"It was a very rare operation that gave me a second chance and I will be forever grateful."

It took a further three years of specialist care before Steve was able to feel like a "normal child".

"I was very young but I remember it being a rough time.

"I missed all of Year 2 at school and I was in and out of treatment.

"It wasn't plain sailing until I was nine."

To see him now, no-one would guess at the early trauma in his life as he teaches maths and science and enjoys games of tennis and golf.

"Pretty much the only lasting consequence of the illness and operation is that I will never be able to play contact sports," he said.

Steve is sharing his remarkable medical history to encourage people to commit to donating their vital organs in the event of an accident.

This is Donate Life Week, when Australians are urged to tell their loved ones of their wishes so that more people can be saved.

Australia has one of the lowest donation rates in the world and there are 1600 awaiting an organ transplant, 50 of them children.

"If I can get 10 people to commit to being a donor this week I will be thrilled," said Steve.

“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS 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.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Northern Ireland politician urges new organ donor system

By Noel McAdam, Belfast Telegraph
A Ulster Unionist Assembly Member has given emotional thanks to the family of an organ donor who saved her son’s life.

The UUP has already come out in favour of an opt-out system for organ donation where people would automatically be signed up as potential donors unless they asked to be removed.

Jo-Anne Dobson told her family’s story as MLAs heard there are 288 people awaiting transplants in Northern Ireland — and an average of 15 people in the province die every year waiting for an organ to be found.

The Ulster Unionist said her son Mark had suffered from kidney disease since he was born, but as a 13-year-old went into renal failure and was told he would need a transplant operation in one to three years.

“We had always lived with Mark’s kidney disease, but I cannot relay to you the shock it delivers to a family to hear that your son needs to have life-saving surgery,” the Upper Bann MLA said.

“But Mark is one of the lucky ones — he waited for 10 months for a successful donor organ to be found.”

Mrs Dobson added: “We do not know who the donor of Mark’s kidney was, and probably never will — but, even so, we thank their family every single day for giving Mark the gift of life.

“As they endured the indescribable grief of losing a loved one, through donating an organ they gave the selfless gift which enabled us to have a healthy and fit son.”

Her story came as MLAs voted to include the prospect of people being asked to opt out rather than opt in — currently the case in Wales — in a review of organ donations after a motion tabled by the DUP was adopted. The DUP’s Jim Wells — who is to be the next Health Minister — told how 37-year-old Declan Quinn was killed in a hit-and-run incident in Coalisland last July and as a donor no less than seven of his organs were transplanted to others on the waiting list.

“A four-year-old girl who was born blind had Declan Quinn’s corneas transplanted on to her eyes and she saw her parents for the first time.

“In the midst of a tragic situation, Declan Quinn’s relatives had the comfort of knowing that his death had brought life to others,” he added.

“There simply are not enough organs for transplant in Northern Ireland. It is as simple as that.”

factfile

There has been a significant increase in the number of kidney transplants in the province: up from 59 in 2008-09 to 70 in 2009-2010, and this year so far there have been 77 procedures.

In 2010-11, there were also 21 liver transplants, four heart transplants, four lung transplants and one combined heart and lung transplant.

All of those operations were, however, carried out in hospitals in Britain, because Northern Ireland only has the facilities to carry out kidney transplants.

“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS 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.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Indiana farmer receives hand transplant at Kentucky hospital

HealthCanal.com

Louisville, Ky. – Ronald Thurman, a Marion, Indiana farmer, became the latest patient to receive a hand transplant recipient at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, on Wednesday, February 15, 2012.

At 56 years old, Thurman is the oldest patient to receive a transplant from the Louisville Vascularized Composite Allograft Program team made up of surgeons and researchers from Jewish Hospital, the Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and MicrosurgeryKleinert Kutz Hand Care Center, and the University of Louisville.  He is recovering in the intensive care unit at Jewish Hospital. 

Joseph Kutz, M.D., partner with Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center and director of the Kleinert Institute, led a team of 24 hand surgeons and two anesthesiologists to perform the hand transplant during a 15 ½ hour procedure. 
“It is a team effort,” Kutz said. “We worked in two-hour shifts throughout the night.  We had a plan and we’re very happy as he seems to be doing well.”

Kutz said Thurman will likely have his new hand fitted for braces on Friday, February 17, 2012 and begin physical therapy in a couple of days.  He will remain under care in Louisville for several months.
“His hand looks good,” Kutz said. “Of course, we are a long way from knowing how well it will function, but he is doing well.”

Thurman is a self-employed farmer. He injured his right hand in a farming accident in November 2003 when his hand was caught in a combine/auger.  His right hand was amputated at the wrist, nine inches below the elbow.  He had a low-elbow prosthesis prior to the surgery. 

Dr. Kutz, and Michael Marvin, M.D., director of Transplantation at Jewish Hospital and associate professor of Surgery at theUniversity of Louisville are the co-investigators for the innovative procedure.

Rosemary Ouseph, M.D., director of Clinical Transplantation and professor of Medicine for the University of Louisville, manages the patient’s immunosuppressive drug therapy, along with Dr. Marvin.

Ouseph said Thurman is being treated with a combination of medications, including
Thymoglobulin, Prograf, Myfortic and steroids.

“Early on, all of the hand transplant patients have had episodes of rejection,” said Ouseph. “We will continue to watch for rejection, monitor drug levels and adjust the patient’s medications accordingly.”

Kutz said the team had been working with Thurman and listed him for a hand transplant about four weeks ago. 

“It is because of donor families that we are able to do these surgeries and to give individuals the gift of two, functioning hands,” said Jenny Jones, director of education for Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates.  If we didn’t have our donor families, we wouldn’t have any transplantation.”

Kentuckians can join the Kentucky Donor Registry online at www.donatelifeky.org. People who live outside of the state of 

Kentucky can visit www.donatelife.net for state specific donor registry information.
The Louisville Vascularized Composite Allograft Program team pioneered the hand transplant procedure and has been performing hand transplants since 1999, the longest in the United States. LifeGift in Texas, in coordination with the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, arranged the hand donation for the team’s eighth patient’s hand transplant procedure.

Other hand transplants performed by the Louisville Vascular Composite Allograft Program are:
Matthew Scott – January 24, 1999
Gerald Fisher – February 16, 2001
Dave Savage – November 29, 2006
Dave Armstrong – July 12, 2008
Jan (Erik) Hondusky – November 24, 2008
Richard Edwards – August 24, 2010 (double hand transplant)
Donnie Rickelman – July 10, 2011

Patient and physician information, photography and video are available atwww.handtransplant.com.  
The hand transplant is sponsored by the Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research and Office of Army Research to further research in the Vascularized Composite Allograft Program.

“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS 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.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Patients' stem cells reduce tissue damage after heart attacks

Stem cell treatments use cells that have the potential to develop into many different types of cells in the body. They serve as a repair system for the body. There are two main types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. In the article below the heart's own stem cells were used to repair damage caused to it, scientists say. They help the organ re-grow healthy muscle after a heart attack and research with regenerative medicine in other organs shows promise for the future.

Doctors and scientists are excited about stem cells because they have potential in many different areas of health and medical research. Studying stem cells may help explain how serious conditions such as birth defects and cancer come about. Stem cells may one day be used to make cells and tissues for therapy of many diseases.


By Adam Cresswell, HEALTH EDITOR,The Australian
RESEARCHERS have reported dramatic reductions in amounts of heart tissue damaged during heart attacks, after treating patients with stem cells taken from their own bodies - a technique experts say raises hopes for future treatments.

The US experts found the amount of scar tissue inside the patients' hearts had halved after the treatment was given, and new healthy muscle tissue was created - suggesting it might be possible to recover some of the heart function typically lost after heart attacks.

Although the study was small, involving just 25 patients, and designed merely to prove the technique was safe enough for further research, the authors said it "provides early evidence for therapeutic regeneration" and could lead to a new treatment option.

"This discovery challenges the conventional wisdom that, once established, cardiac scarring is permanent and that, once lost, healthy heart muscle cannot be restored," they wrote.

Heart attacks occur when the heart muscle cannot get enough oxygen from the blood to function, as when the blood flow is blocked by a clot.

The dead or damaged area of heart muscle is later replaced by scar tissue as the heart recovers, but this results in a weakened heart because the scar tissue does not beat as healthy heart muscle does.

For the study, the authors from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles gathered stem cells from the hearts of patients who had suffered a heart attack within the past month. They then isolated the stem cells and grew them, before injecting up to 25 million of these cells back into the arteries around the heart.

The researchers found that before the treatment, an average of 24 per cent of the patients' left ventricles had turned to scar tissue, but this fell to 16 per cent six months after the treatment, and to 12 per cent after 12 months.

In the study, published online yesterday by The Lancet, the authors said it was unclear why this led to only a slight increase in the ejection fraction, a measure of the heart's pumping ability.

Robert Grenfell, clinical issues director for the National Heart Foundation, said the research was promising and indicated that in future it "may be possible to regenerate heart muscle that is damaged during a heart attack".


“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS 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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Canadian Transplant Games, Calgary, Alberta July 16-22, 2012.


The Canadian Transplant Association will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2012 and the Games will immediately follow Calgary’s (100th) Centennial Stampede (July 6–15, 2012). Athletic competitions will beheld in all age categories for track & field, athletics, swimming, tennis, table tennis, badminton, race walking, 5-pin & 10-pin bowling, lawn bowl, golf, cycling and more including group events like volleyball and the very popular East-versus-West Canada Cup. Schedule of Events. Registration Package (sign-up by April 15h for discount pricing).

Save the date, July 16-22, 2012 and visit The Canadian Transplant Association web site for details about the games as they become available. If you have any questions about the Games or would like to donate, please contact Jennifer Holman at jenniferholman@txworks.ca or Jody Yakubowski at jyakubowski@shaw.ca. If you would
like information about volunteering, please contact CTAGames@shaw.ca.

Calgary is famous for its Western hospitality and they can’t wait to welcome all to this exciting event – a chance to show the world that organ donation really does work; a chance to honor the donors and donor families; a chanceto make memories that will last a lifetime.

About the Canadian Transplant Association (CTA)
The CTA a registered non-profit organization (Charitable tax No. 13181 5862 RR0001) comprised of transplant recipients, athletes, and volunteers dedicated to promoting organ donation through public advocacy and events including the National Transplant Games and World Transplant Games.

“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS 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.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine’s Day: A new heart for 12-week-old baby boy

By Barbara Turnbull, The Toronto Star

Doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children have mended four broken hearts in time for Valentine’s Day.


George Xenarios is just 12 weeks old, but is home in Richmond Hill today with his parents, Kostas Xenarios and Helen Chialtas and sister, Ellie, after a successful heart transplant early last month.

The family’s saga began last November, when an otherwise-normal pregnancy became a potential tragedy.

At 33 weeks, the 35-year-old felt pain in her pelvic area and her weight suddenly ballooned. An ultrasound showed the fetus had fluid around the brain, heart and abdomen. Chialtas was admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital and given a choice to try and hang on, but risk a stillborn baby, or have a caesarean section — still with no guarantee of a healthy child.

Her doctor didn’t know what was wrong. “He just kept repeating ‘You have a very, very sick child,’ ” Chialtas recalls, choking back her tears.

This wasn’t the couples first birth-related tragedy. A year earlier, when Chialtas was 20 weeks pregnant, doctors discovered her fetus had died in utero. The couple couldn’t chance going through that again, so they chose an emergency C-section. George was born Nov. 17.

“Hearing him cry was wonderful,” Chialtas recalls.

But baby George wasn’t healthy. He had cardiomyopathy, a weakness of the heart muscle. “His heart was put together properly, it just didn’t work normally,” says George’s cardiologist, Dr. Anne Dipchand. “He had very significant or severe end-stage heart failure.”

George would not be leaving the hospital without a new heart.

Between 30 to 35 pediatric heart transplants are performed in Canada each year, 65 per cent at Sick Kids. In 2010, 167 heart transplants were performed in Canada, five were in patients under one year old.

The next six weeks were a blur. Chialtas returned to work at the couple’s gallery, XC Art Restoration with Xenarios, 62. “It was a way of coping,” she says. “I didn’t have a baby to take care of.”

Mornings were spent at work, afternoons at the hospital and evenings with 3-year-old Ellie.

The couple bonded with other parents at Sick Kids, sharing the ups and downs of the conditions of each other’s babies.

“If they had a bad day, you’d go home with your heart aching, even if George was okay.”

And then during what started out as another routine day, the family was asked to meet with Dipchand.

“She said `There is a heart available,’ ” Chialtas recalls fresh tears flowing. They were asked for permission to do the transplant.

It took just four hours for doctors to remove George’s diseased heart and attach the walnut-sized new one.

George was discharged seven days later and is thriving, with a good chance to live a long life, Dipchand says.

“During the surgery I knew he was in good hands and that everything was going to go well,” says Chialtas. “That’s when I started thinking about the other family.”

In particular, she thought about the grieving mother, and the little time she had to consider donating her dying child’s organs.

“I just kept thinking about her and what pain she was going through now that her baby has passed. She was strong enough that she wanted to give other children life and she donated these organs,” Chialtas says.

“We know what a gift he is and we are going to love George the way they would have loved theirs.”

After several drafts, Chialtas and Xenarios are almost finished a letter of gratitude to that anonymous family, whose hearts, they know, are still broken.

To join Ontario's organ and tissue donation registry go to www.beadonor.ca.


“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS 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.

Friday, February 10, 2012

TLC in U.S.to air documentary Feb 29 on Cystic Fibrosis

To read more of this story go to the following link for my post about Kristi Mills who received a last-minute lung transplant in Britain soon after being married. It's nice to see that The Learning Channel is going to show the BBC documentary Feb 29th. It's a heart-warming story.
CF Sufferer gets new lungs

Brave bride: Kirstie, with the oxygen tubes that helped her breathe, and husband Stuart Tancock on their wedding day

By Kevin Ritchie, RealScreen.com
U.S. net TLC is to broadcast a one-hour BBC special about a bride-to-be with Cystic Fibrosis who received a double lung transplant.

Breathless Bride: Dying to Live will air on the female-centric cable network on February 29. Produced by Special Edition Films for the BBC, the program chronicles the life of Kirstie Mills, a Cystic Fibrosis sufferer who has been given six months to live, as she prepares for her wedding while waiting for a lung transplant.

Knowing that the transplant call could come at any time, Mills and her fiancé plan their wedding accordingly, booking flexible venues and ordering fake flowers, for example, should they need to relocate the nuptials to a hospital room.

The doc was shot in March 2011 and aired in the UK on BBC3 last November, under the title Love on the Transplant List.

“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS 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.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

After 6-organ transplant, Maine girl bouncing back

GoUpstate.com
By CLARKE CANFIELD
The Associated Press

HOLLIS, Maine — A 9-year-old Maine girl is home from a Boston hospital healthy, active and with high hopes — and a new stomach, liver, spleen, small intestine, pancreas and part of an esophagus to replace the ones that were being choked by a huge tumor.
Alannah Shevenell
Enlarge
Alannah Shevenell
Alannah Shevenell, 9, returned to her home in Hollis, Maine, last Wednesday, three months after receiving six new organs in a groundbreaking operation.
Robert F. Bukaty/AP
It’s believed to be the first-ever transplant of an esophagus and the largest number of organs transplanted at one time in New England.
Spunky and bright-eyed as she scampered around her family’s farmhouse outside Portland, Alannah Shevenell said Thursday that she’s glad to be feeling well again and able to go sledding, make a snowman, work on her scrapbooks and give her grandmother a little good-humored sass.
The best part, though? “Being home,” she said. “Just being home.”
It was 2008 when Alannah, then 5, began running a fever and losing weight while her belly swelled. Doctors discovered the tumor that year and twice attempted to remove it, as it made its way like octopus legs from organ to organ. But it was difficult to access what turned out to be a rare form of sarcoma, said Debi Skolas, Alannah’s grandmother, and chemotherapy didn’t do the trick, either.
All the time, the growth — known as an inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor — continued to grow in her abdomen, causing pain, making it hard to eat and swelling her up with fluid. Surgery was the last resort to save her life, and Alannah spent more than a year on a waiting list for the organs, said Dr. Heung Bae Kim, the lead surgeon on the procedure at Children’s Hospital Boston.
The family was told there was a 50 percent chance Alannah wouldn’t survive the procedure. But without it, she had no chance whatsoever.
Things were more tense than celebratory in October when doctors prepared to remove the growth and the organs in one fell swoop and replace them with organs transplanted in one tangled piece from another child of similar size.
The hardest part was taking out her organs and the tumor, Kim said, calling it a difficult operation with lots of blood loss.
“It’s probably one of the most extensive tumor removals ever done,” the surgeon said.
Dr. Allan Kirk, professor of surgery at Emory University in Atlanta and the editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Transplantation, said no other esophageal transplant has been reported in medical literature.
After the surgery, Alannah spent three more months at the hospital, with her grandmother sleeping every night in a lounge chair by her bed. She battled infections and complications from the surgery before finally being given the OK to leave.
But just because she’s home doesn’t mean she’s out of the woods.
Alannah has to take nine medications each day, some two, three or four times. Her grandparents have to precisely measure what goes in and comes out of her body, and check her blood sugar.
Her immune system is so weak that she can’t go to places with large numbers of other people, such as school, church or a mall. She can’t eat raw vegetables or fruits unless they have thick skins because of concerns over germs, and she’ll never be able to swim in a lake because of the bacteria. The Skolases installed ultraviolet lights in their heating ducts to kill mold, mildew and bacteria that might sicken Alannah.
But the family is thankful for her second chance at life and for the family that went through the pain of losing a child and before deciding to donate the organs to help Alannah.
“That was a courageous decision,” Debi Skolas said. “I still cry when I think about it.”
“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS 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.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

British teenager raises money for mother waiting for lung transplant

By Sarah Howells, North Devon Gazette
A BARNSTAPLE teenager is travelling the length of Britain in support of his mother as she awaits a lung transplant.
Tom Phillips will be riding 2000 miles to help support his mother Debbie Phillips through her illness

Debbie Phillips, 45, suffers from a genetic lung disease and has been told by doctors that she has only a few years left to live.
The mum-of-three’s only option is a lung transplant and while specialists race to register her on the official waiting list, son Tom, 19, will be embarking on a 2,000-mile road trip to say thank-you to the charity that is supporting his family.
The warehouse worker will be riding from Land’s End to John O’Groats on a 125cc motorbike to raise £1,000 for the British Lung Foundation (BLF).
Tom, who will be joined on the ride by friend Sam Rosevear, said: “This is just my little way of saying thank-you to the BLF for all the support they have given my mum over the last couple of months. We are hoping to cover 210 miles a day on our trip, which should be about four to five hours riding not including traffic.”
As the two friends still have ‘L’ plates and are limited to 60 miles per hour, they will be taking the scenic route along the west coast to avoid motorways. Tom estimates that he and Sam will reach John O’Groats eight to 10 days after mum Debbie waves them off at Land’s End on April 8.
Debbie, who suffers from alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, which has resulted in emphysema, said she was awaiting further doctor’s appointments before she could be officially added to the transplant list.
Professor Stephen Spiro, an expert on respiratory medicine, said: “Patients have to undergo a number of psychiatric and physical tests to ensure they are fit for transplant, as it is a huge ordeal to go through.
“Once a patient is on the list, they will receive a beeper. As soon as a compatible donor is found, the beeper will go off and they will have to go straight to the hospital.”
Louise Skinner, events manager at BLF, said: “We are so grateful that Tom and Sam are taking part in this incredible 2,000 mile motorbike ride for the BLF.
“We rely entirely upon voluntary donations and the money they raise will be invested in leading research, campaigns to bring about positive change, and care and support for anyone affected by lung diseases.”
Tom and his mum are also organising a bric-a-brac sale on Saturday, March 10, from 10am-2pm at St John’s Community Hall, Whiddon Valley, to raise funds for the trip. If you have any unwanted items you wish to donate or you would like to help out, please contact Tom on 07826 038236.
If you wish to support Tom and Sam by donating to the BLF, visit Tom’s fund-raising page at www.justgiving.com/Tom-Phillips4.
The boys will also be keeping a blog of their trip on Facebook page, “2000 Mile Motorbike Trip for British Lung Foundation”

“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS 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.