Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year to all and be sure to
look for the Donate Life Float in Rose Parade New Year's Day

Donate Life Rose Parade® Float to Feature 40 'Floragraphs' of Organ, Eye and Tissue Donors Whose Gifts of Life Aided Thousands

‘Life Takes Flight’ as Donor Families Decorate Floral Portraits of Loved Ones

The 119th Rose Parade will take place Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2008 in Pasadena, California at 8 a.m. (PST) featuring majestic floral floats, high-stepping equestrian units and spirited marching bands from throughout the world. Following the Rose Parade, at 2 p.m. (PST), the 94th Rose Bowl Game will feature an exciting match-up between two championship teams, University of Illinois Fighting Illini and the University of Southern California Trojans, once again showcasing the best of collegiate football.

The photos of their smiling faces – many of them still young – look as if they were taken just yesterday. But the faces gracing the Donate Life Rose Parade float are those of organ, eye and tissue donors who in their passing saved, healed and gave hope to thousands of people in need. And in December, more than 30 of these donors’ families traveled from 15 states to Pasadena to transform images of their loved ones into “floragraphs” that will adorn the Donate Life float, Life Takes Flight, in the 2008 Rose Parade.

Floragraphs are artistic portraits created by using spices, seeds, and other organic materials to cover a digitized photograph of the individual. The final image is astonishingly realistic, recognizable and a fitting memorial to organ, eye and tissue donors everywhere.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Your generosity can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance another 50 through tissue donation

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Cheerleader needs double-lung transplant

I'm posting the complete article here with the hopes that it will help the family's efforts to raise the $50,000 still needed for Brieanna's life-saving transplant.

From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
A 13-year-old Coral Springs Chargers youth football cheerleader is fighting for her life.

Brieanna Yowell, who cheered for the Coral Springs Unlimited football team this past season in the American Youth Football League, needs a double lung transplant.

Brieanna has cystic fibrosis, a congenital disease, and has a life expectancy of slightly more than 30 years. There is no cure.

Unlike many girls her age, Brieanna cannot always participate in the strenuous activities that the rest of her cheer team members accept as routine.

"Living with cystic fibrosis is pretty tough, with all the treatments, hospitalizations, medications, and not being able to breathe normally," Brieanna said. "Some people would just give up, but I never quit, because I have dreams and goals just like other teenagers.

"One of my goals is to be able to cheer again, because when I cheer I forget about the pain and struggling I have to deal with in my life," Brieanna said. "I always feel like a different person when I cheer. Instead of the sick Brieanna, I feel like the strong Brieanna who can stand up to anything."

After years of treatment and suffering, in October 2007, Brieanna's doctors recommended the double lung transplant, which would take place at Shands Children's Hospital, an affiliate of the University of Florida in Gainesville. Brieanna was placed on the transplant list Oct. 30. Generally, it takes six months to a year on the list to receive a transplant. The cost can often exceed $500,000 for both the operation and the post-operative care. The family needs to raise $50,000. Friends of Brieanna, with the assistance of the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA), have come together to assist Brieanna and her family.

If a transplant becomes available for Brieanna, the surgery will be performed whether the total amount has been raised or not.

If you would like to contribute to help cover the expenses, you may do so in the following ways:

Contribute online by visiting Brieanna's Web site at, and then clicking on to donate.

Contribute at any Bank Of America branch by making a deposit into an account for Brieanna Yowell. All checks should be made payable to COTA, and in the memo line of the check write in Brieanna Yowell.

For information, call 954-815-6901 or 754-245-5220.

Transplant unit given the go-ahead
From IC Wales:

A SPECIALIST kidney transplant unit for Wales’ biggest hospital has been given the go-ahead.

Plans for the Renal Transplant Centre at the University Hospital of Wales, Heath, Cardiff, have received the backing of various health bodies and will lead to a 21-bed, £4.27m department.

Experts believe demand for kidney transplants in the Welsh capital could soar by up to 15 per cent a year and the existing unit would be unable cope.

New treatments mean more and more victims will be eligible for transplants and the new unit could be up and running in two years.

Floors two and three of a seven-storey tower block will house the new department, which medics believe could perform 160 operations a year by 2012. Read the full article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Your generosity can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance another 50 through tissue donation

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Season's Greetings

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and my very best wishes for a new year of peace and happiness.

During this time of giving please remember that the greatest gift one human being can give to another is the "gift of life". If you haven't already signed your donor card please do so and tell your loved ones of your wishes.
Thanks, Merv.

December 24th was my birthday and this was the 6th Christmas following my life-saving single lung transplant. I was dying from end-stage respiratory failure due to pulmonary fibrosis and I will be forever grateful and thankful for the extra time I've been given and for the wonderful gift of human kindness that I received.

This is the view from my kitchen window after the recent storm. More than a foot (30 cm) of snow fell here in Waterloo, Ontario

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Your generosity can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance another 50 through tissue donation

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Transplant doctor finds himself on receiving end of procedure

Transplant surgeon Dr. David Laskow needed a new heart himself after suffering cardiac arrest

The Courier News in New Jersey posts this story about a surgeon who has an emergency heart transplant that results in him being committted --more than ever-- to helping other transplant patients.

"The act of donating one organ has an exponential effect," Dr. David Laskow said. "What a powerful event. It winds up affecting thousands of lives. I touch a lot of people's lives. You go back to what you do. You interact with the world." Read the full story.

Organ donation
This item aired on News 10 Now in Rochester, New York and notes that every day in the United States 17 people die waiting for an organ transplant. Every 20 minutes someone new is added to the list. The story is about how Tracy Conrow donated her mother's organs knowing that she wanted to live on as a donor. Read the full story.

The greatest gift of them all -- life
There are currently 1,642 patients waiting for an organ transplant in Ontario
From CNews in Canada:

Dave Choi likely won't live long enough to receive a life-saving liver transplant but he is hoping this holiday season people will think about the gift of life.

Dave Choi, 34, hugged by his girlfriend Sophie Tran, waits to get a liver transplant. Doctors say he won't survive the two-year waiting list to receive the operation.

"I am too young to die", said Choi, a 34-year-old Internet consultant from Toronto who has liver cancer.

"I need a liver transplant and my doctors tell me the wait is almost two years. I will likely not survive that long. It doesn't have to be like this.

"Please, sign an organ donor card and talk to your family about your wishes today. To me, it's an easy way to make a big difference. It means a lot."

Choi's friends are actively looking for a living donor match to donate a small piece of their liver to save his life.

"This New Year's Eve we are hosting our first gathering at the Artcube art gallery. Using the Facebook website, we posted details of the event to spread the word and this alone has done an amazing job of generating awareness for both my issue and for the Trillium Gift of Life Network," Choi said. Read the full article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Your generosity can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance another 50 through tissue donation

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Lawsuit Promised in Transplant Case

Natalee Sarkisyan, a 17-year-old from Glendale, Calif., died Thursday just a few hours after Cigna Health Care, her medical insurer, approved what it had previously described as "too experimental" a procedure. (ABC)

This Associated Press article is another horror story of how a beaurocratic clerk can override medical expert's opinions even to the point of resulting in the death of the patient. In this case it was an insurance company's desire not to have to pay for an organ transplant.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The family of a 17-year-old girl who died hours after her health insurer reversed a decision and said it would pay for a liver transplant plans to sue the company, their attorney said Friday.

Nataline Sarkisyan died Thursday at about 6 p.m. at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. She had been in a vegetative state for weeks, said her mother, Hilda.

Attorney Mark Geragos said he plans to ask the district attorney to press murder or manslaughter charges against Cigna HealthCare in the case. The insurer "maliciously killed her" because it did not want to bear the expense of her transplant and aftercare, Geragos said. Read the full story.

Youngest liver transplant recipient, Morgan Dennis, now a healthy 21-year-old

TV station KARE11 in Minnesota has this great article about the long-term survival of a liver transplant recipient.

It is not uncommon to share family photos around the holidays. But few families have the Kodak moments that fill the albums of Moses Dennis and his son Morgan.

"He was the youngest person? to have a liver transplant," says Moses, as he pages through the photos of the puffy-cheeked infant. Morgan was just 14 days old when he received his new liver at Nebraska Medical Center. In 1986 no one so young had ever had such an operation anywhere in the country, according to his father.

Nebraska Medical Center is the same hospital that Edina first grader Abigail Taylor, underwent her triple transplant this week. "It's the best place in my opinion," says Moses. "I was so excited when I heard it was actually being done in Omaha." Read the complete article.

AGH to perform lung transplants
From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Allegheny General Hospital (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) has approval to do lung transplantation surgery and expects to put its first patients on the national lung transplant list by next month, hospital officials announced Thursday.

The North Side hospital has been growing its transplant program, with surgeons performing the hospital's first liver transplant last month. It has long-standing kidney, heart and pancreas transplant programs.

"With the establishment of the liver transplant program, on top of the other transplant programs, it made sense to revisit adding lungs," said Dr. Robert Keenan, director of Allegheny General's division of thoracic surgery.

Keenan, who directed UPMC's lung transplantation program before joining Allegheny General in 2000 and performed more than 100 lung transplants, will lead Allegheny General's program. Read the article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Friday, December 21, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Mother crusades for organ donations

Claudia Grammatico, 59, has become a tireless campaigner for organ donation since donating her son's organs and tissues in 1999. She travels across the metro area, state and country and remains active with the New York Organ Donor Network.

From the Daily News in New York:

"He looked like he was sleeping."

Claudia Grammatico's eyes still cloud up as she recalls that more than eight-year-old vision of her son Paul, lying in a hospital emergency room.

Though his body was virtually unscarred, the 26-year-old successful stockbroker and athlete was brain-dead, killed with his best friend, Michael Penny, in a May 19, 1999, traffic accident in Atlantic Beach, L.I. Both were thrown from the car they were in, which was being driven by a drunken driver.

"I was devastated," Grammatico said. "That was my son. When you lose a child, you lose part of your future."

In the emotional blur that was her son's final hours, the Valley Stream mom did something that would change her life, the lives of dozens, if not hundreds, of other people, and in the process created a lasting legacy for Paul, her only son.

When doctors approached her about donating Paul's organs, Grammatico said yes.

"They took Mike directly to the morgue," Grammatico said. "I was given something his mother was not given, and that was a chance to say yes.

"You don't say that yes loudly, you whisper it," she said. "That has to be one of the holiest words I have ever said."

That yes meant a new life for then-48-year-old Joe Senatore of Bay Shore, L.I., who got Paul's heart, and for the 63-year-old retired science teacher in Kansas and 54-year-old Nevada father who each got a kidney, the 56-year-old upstate New York woman who got his liver and the 59-year-old Massachusetts woman who got one of his lungs.

Paul's tissue and bone marrow also were harvested and used. Read the full article

New Jersey law would mandate organ donor decision
From Newsday:

TRENTON, N.J. - Thousands mourned after Jason Ray, who dressed as the University of North Carolina mascot, died after being hit by an SUV during a March basketball team trip to New Jersey, but four lives were saved by the organs Ray donated.

Among them was Antwan Hunter, a 16-year-old from Newark whose only kidney was failing.

"It's sad that they had to lose a son," Antwan's mother, Latisha, said of Ray's parents. "But others gained lives."

The Hunters were among those Thursday backing legislation unveiled by a top legislator to require people applying for driver's licenses and identification cards to state whether they want to be an organ donor. It would also require high schools to teach about organ donation. Read the full story.

Giving the Gift of Life During the Holidays
Press Release
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The holidays are a time when many of us are focused on gifts and giving. But there are thousands of people in this community who are hoping to receive the most important gift of all this season - the gift of life.

This past year, more than 1,000 people in our community have already received a life-saving transplant, thanks to the generosity of many donors and their families. But even more continue to wait - specifically, close to 5,400 people in this region alone, joining the 100,000 patients who wait nationwide.

Gift of Life Donor Program - the organ procurement organization for eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware - urges you to help give hope during the holidays and register as an organ and tissue donor. You can now give the greatest gift online as well. It's simple, quick, and just one donor can save or enhance the lives of up to 50 people.

In Pennsylvania and Delaware, residents who want to support organ and tissue donation can act immediately instead of waiting until you renew your driver's license to add the donor designation to their license. Through the two state Web sites, and residents with a driver's license or state I.D. card have the ability to go online to a secure page within the state's Department of Transportation Web site to add the donor designation to their record immediately.

In New Jersey, you can also log onto to get more information about donation, as well as sign up to be alerted when the state's online registry is ready.

Regardless of where you are, it's also important to talk with your family and friends about your decision to donate, so they can understand your wishes and see how important it is to designate themselves.

Check out and link to either the Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware Donate Life sites. Saving lives is just one click away!

About Gift of Life: Gift of Life is a nonprofit organ procurement organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation and transplantation in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. For the last 33 years, Gift of Life Donor Program has served as the link between donors and patients awaiting life-saving transplants, coordinating over 25,000 vital organ transplants and tens of thousands of tissue transplants. For more information, please call Gift of Life Donor Program at 1-800-DONORS-1, or visit the Web site at

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Sign an organ donor card and talk to your family about your wishes

December 20, 2007 - Toronto, Ontario - Trllium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) is celebrating the holiday season and reminding Ontarians to sign their organ donor cards and speak to their family about their wishes.

“As you are picking up last minute gifts and heading home to family and friends, we’d like to remind you about another gift, the gift of life,” said Frank Markel, President and CEO of TGLN. “Right now in Ontario there are too many fathers, mothers, sons and daughters on the organ transplant waiting list. Please, take a moment during this special holiday to sign your donor card and discuss your organ and tissue donation wishes with your loved ones. Your decision and your conversation can save a life.”

Today in Ontario, 1642 patients are on the transplant waiting list.

“I am too young to die”, said 34-year-old Dave Choi from Toronto, Ontario. “I need a liver transplant and my doctors tell me the wait is almost two years. I will likely not survive that long. It doesn’t have to be like this - Please, sign an organ donor card and talk to your family about your wishes today - to me, it’s an easy way to make a big difference.”

Organs and tissue that can be donated after death include the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, small bowel, stomach, corneas, heart valves, bone and skin.

“Organ and tissue donation is the most incredible gift you could ever give,” said Cindy Quinn, a 28-year-old heart recipient from Innisfil. “I’m here today because of a most extraordinary act of kindness. This holiday, I want to thank the family somewhere out there who found it in themselves to save my life and I want to remind people to sign their cards and speak to their families about their wishes. It saves lives.”

Everyone is a potential organ and tissue donor. The oldest Canadian organ donor to date was over 90 years of age while the oldest tissue donor was 102.

“You can express your wishes to become an organ and tissue donor by signing a donor card and talking to your loved ones,” said Markel. “It's critical to share your decision with your family, as they will be asked for final consent to donate your organs after your death. Discuss your intentions with them this holiday season and give them a copy of your signed donor card so they can understand, support and respect your wishes in the future.”

For more details on Trillium Gift of Life Network or where you can obtain an organ donor card please visit our website at TGLN or call 416-363-4001 or toll free 1-800-263-2833.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

A five-year-old boy from Grimsby was all smiles today after he became the 50,000th person to receive a kidney transplant in the UK.Kyle Nuttall
From the Daily Mail in the UK:

Kyle Nuttall had spent most of his life in hospital before his operation at St James's Hospital in Leeds earlier this month. He was diagnosed with an infection that led to chronic renal failure at just ten months old.

In the years that followed Kyle struggled with his growth and weight, and was unable to enjoy everyday foods like bananas and potatoes because he was on a strict diet. Read the full story.

Organ Donation Brings Smile To Victim's Family
From television station KDKA:
News that Logan Vaughan's "black and gold heart" was given to someone from Cleveland is bringing a smile to his family.

MONONGAHELA (Pennsylvania) (KDKA) ― The family of a local teenager who was killed in a car accident on December 8th is taking comfort in knowing that his legacy will live on.

Ringgold High School student Logan Vaughan, 18, of Monongahela, died after the car he was riding in hit another car along Route 136 in Washington County.

Family members say Vaughan was a diehard Steelers fan who was buried in his favorite Willie Parker jersey. The Steeler player even signed a football and Terrible Towel which relatives placed in the casket with Vaughan.

"We believe that Logan had a black and gold heart," his cousin Machall Pocky told KDKA last week.

Now, news that Logan's heart was given to someone from Cleveland is bringing a smile to his family.

In an email from the Vaughan family, Jenica Suty wrote:

"Logan was also an organ donor and we always said he had a black and gold heart... his heart went to someone from Cleveland. We joked all week about this because we said some Cleveland fan is going to wake up from surgery with a change of heart in what team they cheer for."

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Toronto General Hospital performs 100th lung transplant this year

This exceeds the 87 lung transplants performed there in 2006.

Toronto General Hospital is the world's leading lung transplant center with world-class state-of-the-art facilities and research laboratories. The world's first successful lung transplants were done at Toronto General and it continues to be a pioneer by raising the bar in both transplantation and research.

Director of the lung transplant program in Toronto is Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, world renowned for his work in lung transplantation (see publications). He is also director of the research labs that are doing truly exciting and groundbreaking experiments in transplantation. Their major project is gene therapy in lung transplantation where they are working on techniques to genetically modify the donor lung so that it is better able to deal with the stress imposed upon it by the transplantation process.

This could lead to an increase in the availability of useable donor lungs and get more patients off the waiting list to receive their life-saving transplant. Right now, only about 1 of every 5 donor lungs turn out to be viable for transplantation.

The scientists are also using gene therapy to grow tissue, and hopefully someday new lungs entirely.

Congratulations to the lung transplant team at Toronto General Hospital!

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Transplants in Ontario Year-to-Date

Here are the total transplants performed in the Province of Ontario this year to date followed by waiting list totals, as posted on the Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) web site. Check this site often as figures are updated daily.

At the Trillium site you will find more statistics and you can also compare this year's transplants to the 10-year history and get an idea of how we're doing. For example, for all of 2005 there were 68 lung and heart-lung transplants performed (in 2007 this was equalled by Aug. 22nd) and by comparison that total was well surpassed in 2006 with 87 lung and heart-lung transplants done in Ontario (this was equalled by Oct. 30th in 2007).

  • Liver - From Deceased Donors 165

  • Liver - From Living Donors 55

  • Heart - 70

  • Kidney - From Deceased Donors 302

  • Kidney - From Living Donors 197

  • Lung 99

  • Heart - Lung 1

  • Pancreas 8

  • Small Bowel 0

  • Kidney - Pancreas 23


  • Liver 358

  • Heart 40

  • Kidney 1123

  • Lung 51

  • Heart Lung 3

  • Pancreas 20

  • Small Bowel 4

  • Kidney Pancreas 41


“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Czech surgeons carry out 100 lung transplants in 10 years
From The Prague Daily Monitor:

Czech surgeons have carried out 100 lung transplants over the past ten years and 203 kidney transplants on child patients over thirty years, transplant experts said at a press conference Thursday.

The first kidney transplant was carried on a child patient in Prague's Clinical and Experimental Medicine Institute (IKEM) in 1997.

Since 1981, these transplants have been carried out in the Transplant Centre of the Motol hospital in Prague.

A year later, Motol cardiologists also started performing cardiac valve transplants on children. Over the past 15 years, they have carried out 845 of them.

Professor Pavel Pafko, the head of the team performing lung transplants, said the number of these transplants is limited as only 15 percent of the donors are suitable.

Half of Czech patients with transplanted lungs live for more than five years, which corresponds to the world average, Pafko said. Read the full story.

Drug May Help Manage Fatal Lung Condition
From the University of Cincinnati comes this news release which could bode well for treating pulmonary hypertension:

CINCINNATI—University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers are creating broader treatment options for patients living with pulmonary hypertension.

Jean Elwing, MD, and colleagues are enrolling pulmonary hypertension patients in an open-label clinical trial.

Elwing says the study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of Ambrisentan, a drug that blocks endothelin, a substance that is often elevated in the lungs of patients with pulmonary hypertension.

“This drug may improve blood flow in the lungs which helps the patient function better,” says Elwing, a pulmonologist in the division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at the UC College of Medicine.

Pulmonary hypertension is a blood vessel disorder of the lungs in which pressure in the pulmonary artery, the blood vessel that leads from the heart to the lungs, rises above normal levels.

People living with the life-threatening disease often have difficulty engaging in everyday, low-exertion activities, such as walking short distances.

Elwing says Ambrisentan has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for patients suffering from pulmonary arterial hypertension.

“There are many different causes of pulmonary hypertension,” she says. “Studies have shown that this drug helps patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension which can occur spontaneously or as a result of illnesses such as scleroderma, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

“We want to assess the effects of Ambrisentan on those who develop the illness due to other causes, including chronic lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).”

However, Elwing adds that patients who experience pulmonary hypertension due to left heart failure cannot be involved in this clinical trial.

Elwing says patients will be followed closely during the study and will receive frequent checkups.

“We will use exercise to determine response to therapy but will also take normal, everyday function and blood work into consideration,” she says. “Our hope is to expand treatment options and improve quality of life for patients living with many forms of pulmonary hypertension.” Read the press release.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Organ donor and recipient meet after gift of life

Organ recipient Andy Loudon was overjoyed to meet his anonymous donor Barbara Ryder

From The Telegraph in England:

In an anonymous wood-panelled dining room at a London hotel, two strangers shared a quiet but emotional embrace.

Unable to find words to express his gratitude to the Good Samaritan whose act of extraordinary generosity had transformed his life, moist-eyed Andy Loudon simply reached out to give her a warm hug.

An hour later Barbara Ryder and Mr Loudon became the first altruistic stranger donor and recipient to speak publicly about their experience.

Earlier this year Ms Ryder, a nurse from Launceston, in Cornwall, had surgery to have a kidney removed, allowing the organ to be transplanted into Mr Loudon, despite never having met him.

Ms Ryder, 59, who had a close friend who died of kidney failure, was only the second person in the UK to have made a non-directed, altruistic kidney donation - also known as a stranger donation.

Speaking at the Science Media Centre, she said: "You get a lot of fun and happiness from giving something that can change a life. Read the full story.

Avoid the transplant lottery
From the Ottawa Citizen (Canada):

The human drama surrounding a heart transplant is a powerful illustration of why organ donation remains such an essential gift of life. Reporter Patrick Dare and photographer Julie Oliver, together with editors and designers at the Citizen, have admirably captured some of the most complex and wrenching challenges we face daily at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in their feature series this week.

Every day, our people apply a lifetime of compassion, skill and knowledge to tend to the sick, teach others and revolutionize cardiac treatment through research discoveries. Many of the treatments developed here become Canada's gold standard of care and our discoveries help beat back the ravages of heart disease.

Heart transplantation is, in fact, a means of last resort for patients whose hearts can no longer support life. Waiting for a transplant has been described as a lottery. It is a lottery we would rather you not have to play. Read the full article.

Desperately Seeking a Kidney
From The New York Times:

In the fall of 2005, I started my first online relationship. He was a 62-year-old retiree from Canada; I was a 49-year-old psychiatrist living in Washington. Beginning in early October of that year, we talked or e-mailed several times a week. This arrangement was novel to both of us, so our conversations were tentative at first, but we soon grew more comfortable, and excitement over our shared vision blossomed. After a few weeks, we decided to meet for a uniquely intimate encounter. After New Year’s, the Canadian would fly to Washington to meet me — at a hospital, where he would give me one of his kidneys. Thank God. Read the full story. The ending will surprise you.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Friday, December 14, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Organ donor shortage leads to new sharing ideas -- and ethical questions
From The News & Advance in Lynchburg, Virginia:

In a season of giving, the gift of life is the ultimate present to someone who is dying because of organ failure - heart, lung, kidney, liver, and pancreas.

Over the past five years, a new option for giving has emerged: LifeSharers.

The concept was developed by a retired insurance man who looked at the number of people who died waiting for human organs and thought there must be a better way.

“Americans are burying or cremating 20,000 transplantable organs a year,” said David Undis, who founded the Tennessee-based LifeSharers. Compare that to “6,000 or 8,000 who die because there are not enough organs.”

He called it “a terrible waste.”

What’s happening is not an organ shortage, said Undis in a phone interview; “it is an organ donor shortage.”

The nonprofit LifeSharers now has a list with 10,000 names of people who are willing to donate organs, and want the first choice of recipients to be those who feel the same way and have signed on as members, too.

That runs contrary to the current system, which gives an available organ to the person who is most in need. It does so through an extraordinary network that coordinates the donor, the recipient, retrieval teams, transplant surgeons, and hospital transplant centers.

The LifeSharers idea has met with resistance from the organization that coordinates that network, the United Network for Organ Sharing, and from organ procurement agencies, such as LifeNet Health, which covers the area that includes Lynchburg. Read the complete article.

Teen celebrates birthday with new liver
From The Star in South Africa:

A few months ago, Martha Nwaneri was at death's door.

Her liver wasn't functioning properly, she was severely underweight and she could barely walk or talk.

She was depressed and knew she was gravely ill.

Today the teenager from Nigeria is celebrating her 18th birthday after a lifesaving liver transplant operation done at the Wits University Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Joburg.

Martha was one of two recipients of a split liver transplant. The other recipient was 9-year-old Jean-Pierre Strydom from Pretoria.

The pair underwent back-to-back surgery at the medical centre in September after a suitable organ became available. The liver was split into two segments and transplanted into Martha and Jean-Pierre by a team of specialist doctors. Read the story.

Higher heights
From The Nation News in Barbados:

PROFESSOR VELMA SCANTLEBURY-WHITE, GCM, has risen from the classroom of the Alleyne School in St Andrew to become America's first African-American female transplant surgeon, performing more than 1 000 kidney operations in her career.

Velma Scantlebury-White being congratulated by Acting Governor-General Sir Fred Gollop after being presented with the insignia of the Gold Crown of Merit at Government House last Independence Day. (Picture by Cherie Pitt.)

Reflecting on that Barbados school experience, she says with pride: "I am truly grateful for the education at the Alleyne School which set me on the road."

The transplant surgeon, professor of surgery, assistant dean for community education, director of the Division of Transplantation and director of the University of Alabama Regional Transplant Centre was warmly applauded as she stood on the stage at Government House on Independence Day to receive the award of Gold Crown of Merit from Acting Governor-General Sir Fred Gollop. Read the article.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Learning about organ donations
From The Rogers Hometown News in Arkansas:
A Future Business Leaders of American service project at Rogers High School may result in some unusual dinner table conversations. Hundreds of high school students were encouraged to talk to their families about organ donations by guest speaker Keith Maddison, an education specialist for ARORA (Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency ).

Student Necole Kerstiens heard Maddison speak at the state FBLA conference and knew her classmates would be interested in the presentation. She invited him to the school and, along with Sarah Eoff, spent part of Friday helping with the video equipment. More than 600 students heard the presentation.

Maddison traveled from his Little Rock office to talk to the students. He speaks to many groups across the state to encourage people to think about organ donation.

But he begins his presentations to students by assuring them that he's not recruiting. He warned his audience to wear their seatbelts and helmets.

Useful organs come from people who are brain dead, he explained. After an injury to the brain, a person may be kept on a ventilator and their organs recovered. A person who experiences cardiac death - whose heart stops beating - can be a tissue donor. Read the full article,

Donation a moral imperative, says rabbi
From The Ottawa Citizen (Canada):
The reluctance of some people to agree to organ donation is sometimes simply squeamishness. But often it stems from a concern that taking an organ from a body violates the obligation to bury the body whole.

Rabbi Reuven Bulka, who has worked for years as an advocate for organ donation and was recently named chairman of the board of the Trillium Gift of Life Network, says people oppose organ donation, even within the Jewish faith. But he says they haven't thought the issue through.

"Many lay people say, 'We've grown up with the idea that when you are buried, you have to be buried whole.'

"So I say, 'Didn't you also grow up with the idea that saving life is the all-encompassing and overarching Jewish value that supplants every other value? Are you telling me that the obligation to bury a person whole is so sacred that it trumps saving a life?'"

Rabbi Bulka says that the obligation of burying the body with all its parts was valid before the 20th century. But it was trumped by modern medicine and the obligation to save life, and not idly stand by while the blood of your neighbour is being spilled. Read the complete article.

Perry County Boy Receives Lung Transplant
From KATV in Missouri:
A Perry County boy has received the lungs he desperately needs to stay alive.

It's a story we have been following for more than two years. After waiting ten months, Job McCully finally received a lung transplant Tuesday. The surgery wrapped up late Tuesday afternoon, and doctors say the procedure went well.

Three months ago, doctors told Job’s family he likely only had two days to live. He beat those odds, but was in dire need of a lung transplant.

At 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, his mother, asleep by Job’s bedside at St. Louis Children's Hospital awoke to a phone call. A pair of lungs was available, and surgery would begin in just hours. Read the story.

New Device Developed For Lung Damage Sufferers
From in Baltimore, Maryland:
A world record set at a Maryland hospital encourages the improvement of a life saving device.

Healthwatch reporter Kellye Lynn reports on a lab at the University of Maryland Medical Center where doctors are developing a small lung assist device that could drastically improve the quality of life for patients with severe lung damage.

Delicate baby steps have to be taken, after a herculean effort. A 24-year-old Maryland man is the world's longest survivor on the lung assist device.

Tim McClellan's lungs stopped functioning after a severe head injury.

"What this machine did was connect to two major blood vessels and circulated the blood out into a machine, put oxygen in it and fed it back to his body," said Michelle McClellan, Tim's mom.

It's a device that sustained Tim for 107 days, until he received a lung transplant. Read the full article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Brief intermission

I'll be away for a few days and regular posts will resume December 13th. Meanwhile please browse my posts and sidebar links. Thanks, Merv.

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Fire chief gifted kidney by wife

Rose Bedford is giving her husband, Rotorua Fire Chief Wayne Bedford her kidney.From The Daily Post in New Zealand:
What do you give a man for Christmas who has spent more than 30 years protecting the lives of others? For Rose Bedford the answer was simple - her kidney.

It's the ultimate gift of love for her husband, Rotorua fire chief Wayne Bedford, who lost a long battle with his kidneys five years ago.

He's had to rely on a dialysis machine to do the lifesaving work his body can't.

But from Thursday that could all change.

The couple, who have been married 33 years, will undergo transplant surgery at Auckland Hospital, with Rose giving Wayne her left kidney. Read the story.

Woman marks her 33rd year as a kidney transplant recipient
Tulsa World in Oklahoma tells the story of Joan Waddell who received a living kidney transplant from her brother in 1974. Following her transplant she remained in critical care for three months but overcame the initial complications to survive and lead a productive life. Read the story.

Identical Twins Suffering from Rare Condition Have Simultaneous Kidney Transplant
Fox News reports on ten-year-old identical twins Anji and Nelly Polanco who, since birth, have suffered from cystinosis — a rare genetic disease that primarily affects children. Last week they received simultaneous kidney transplants when a suitable donor became available. Read the article.

Niece saves uncle by donating kidney

From The Index-Journal in Greenwood, South Carolina:
“How can you say no when you have the opportunity to prolong somebody’s life?” Kenyetta Crawford, 26, of Promised Land, asked Wednesday when talking about why she chose to sacrifice a piece of her body to save her uncle.

On Nov. 20, the former Miss Black Greenwood donated one of her kidneys to Moses Carter, 42, of Greenwood, who had been on dialysis for two and a half years after both his kidneys failed because of diabetes and high blood pressure. Read the full story.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Donor organs offer a new lease of life

Heart and lung recipients

Transplant patients Andrew Needham (double lung), Pat Caughley (lung), and Murray Hosking (heart)

The Dominion Post in New Zealand has an inspiring story about three of nine heart and lung transplant recipients who raised $10,000 for a heart and lung recuperation center by walking for 19 hours along a 150 km (93 mi) route. Most patients spend about three months living at the center post-transplant and they often compete to see who can walk to the top of One Tree Hill the soonest after surgery.

For almost a decade now, Pat Caughley has had a lung that once belonged to someone else. Murray Hosking has had his heart for seven years. Andrea Needham is the newest recipient – her double lung transplant was carried out in March. Read the complete story.

Heart and lung transplant services hits 200 mark
Peter Ruygrok, clinical director of cardiology and a transplant cardiologist based at Auckland City Hospital, said the milestone meant that 200 people had been able to have their lives extended because of the generosity of others.

He said there were 10 heart transplants a year, on average.

Dr Ruygrok said the unit had the ability and need to perform more each year, but was limited by the number of heart donors.

In the past two decades, the service had grown and expanded and was now doing new and more difficult types of operations and dealing with a wider range of patients.

Dr Ruygrok said many of the people he saw were extremely ill, but within six months of receiving a transplant had returned to normal living. Read the full article.

Boy's double heart transplant joy
A 14-year-old schoolboy has beaten the odds by surviving two heart transplants within days of each other.

Adam Allbutt
BBC News reports that Adam Allbutt underwent the first operation in October at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, after suffering congenital heart problems.

But he suffered a heart attack and another heart had to be found.
Adam is now making excellent progress and is ready to go home to Stoke-on-Trent. He said he was happy to be alive and thanked hospital staff. Read the full story.

Red Sox fan who got heart transplant meets donor's husband
From The Dallas Morning News:
Andrew Madden and Alfonso Solis acknowledged their mixed emotions Sunday, as heart transplant recipient and donor's husband met for the first time.

"I'm very happy he's doing well," Mr. Solis said. "At the same time, I miss my wife."

And 13-year-old Andrew, who's planning to return to Odessa later this month after recovery from his Sept. 30 surgery, said he recognized the grief that Mr. Solis and his family are experiencing.

"I just feel so much better, and I can do so much more," he said, tears welling in his eyes. "When one person is feeling so sad, another person can feel so happy. She saved my life."

Andrew was Children's Medical Center Dallas' 100th heart transplant recipient, and his close relationship with his doctor quickly made headlines. They forged a bond over baseball and their mutual love of the Boston Red Sox, and Andrew got to throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park before Game 2 of the World Series. Read the full story.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Over 260 000 employees committed to raising awareness about organ and tissue donation
Press release
December 7, 2007 - Toronto, ON - The Canadian Auto Workers will be presented with the highest recognition award for raising awareness about organ and tissue donation from Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) today at their annual general meeting in Toronto.

“The commitment of the CAW to organ and tissue donation is incredible,” said Frank Markel, President and CEO of TGLN. “You embraced the cause and you have helped at every opportunity to raise awareness. I am honored to present this award to you today - and I hope that other groups look to you as a model of what it is to be responsible citizens - thank you so much.”

Today in Ontario, more than 1655 patients are on the transplant waiting list.

“The CAW is proud to help Trillium Gift of Life raise awareness about its important work,” said CAW President Buzz Hargrove. “So many people and their families are affected by organ and tissue donation. I’m urging CAW members and their families to continue being involved by raising awareness and by also signing their donor cards and by talking to family members so they know about your wishes.”

Over the past year the CAW has worked with TGLN to:

  • Write several articles for their internal newsletters

  • Place an organ and tissue donation message on pay receipt envelopes

  • Circulate and hang awareness posters

  • Have an organ and tissue donation presence at all CAW functions
“I got my kidney/pancreas transplant 5 ½ years ago,” said local 222 CAW Member Phil Goodwin. “I don’t know what I would have done without it. I am so proud that the CAW understands the importance of raising awareness for organ and tissue donation. Everyone should be doing something. It’s easy to make a difference and save lives."

Every three days someone on the organ donation waiting list dies.

“It's critical to have groups like this raising awareness. It’s so important that every person in this province knows that they have the power to save lives. I hope that we can continue to work together to get people to talk to your family about your organ and tissue donation wishes,” said Markel.

Trillium Gift of Life Network is a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario and is responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating and supporting organ and tissue donation across Ontario and improving the system so that more lives can be saved.

For more details on Trillium Gift of Life Network please visit our website at TGLN or call 416.363.4001 or toll free 1-800-263-2833.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Friday, December 07, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Death anniversary sparks donor plea

Widow Karen Westcott is urging people to join the organ donor register

The Sunderland Echo in the U.K. Has this story about a widow who is marking the anniversary of her husband's death by urging Wearsiders to sign up to the Echo's Sign Up to Save a Life campaign.

A year ago, Karen Westcott was looking forward to Christmas with her husband Les and daughter Danielle.

But all that was shattered when Les suffered a heart attack at the wheel as he was driving near their home in Farringdon, while Karen was in the passenger seat.

Just hours later, still in shock from the sudden death of her partner of 15 years, Karen had to decide whether she should donate his organs to someone waiting to be given the gift of life. Read what decision Karen made.

Psychologically Speaking: Until death do us part
The Jerusalem Post has an interesting comment on a reader's concern about organ donation and Jewish Law that basically says organ donation is permitted but that donors should talk to their families about their wishes. Read the full article.

Against all odds: coworkers match for kidney transplant
The Douglas Times in Nevada reports on how kidney transplant recipient Judy Williams found a living donor just one floor above her at her place of work. Read this heartwarming story.

'Kidney donation after cardiac death may expand donor pool'
From The Hindu.
WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina: New research at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center suggests that transplanting kidneys from donors who died after cardiac arrest – which used to be considered taboo – offers a promising approach to increase the donor pool, according to Eurekalert, the news service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

A study found similar short-term results between kidneys donated after cardiac death (DCD) and kidneys donated after brain death, according to senior researcher Robert Stratta, M.D., a professor of surgery. The results were reported today at the annual meeting of the Southern Surgical Association in Hot Springs, Va.

“Despite greater initial resource utilization, comparable short-term results can be achieved with kidneys donated after cardiac death,” said Stratta. “This alternative provides an important means of increasing the donor pool.”

Originally, all transplanted organs came either from donors who died after cardiac death (so-called non-heartbeating donors) or from living donors. That changed in the 1970s because of new laws defining death as a lack of brain activity. In addition to brain death becoming the standard definition of death for organ donation, DCD organs were no longer used because of the possibility of damage to the kidneys when they were deprived of blood and oxygen. Read the full article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Value of organ donation advocated
From the Daily Press in Virginia:
On Nov. 11, Second Baptist Church East End joined with The Links Inc., an African-American women's service organization, to raise awareness of the need to increase organ donation in the African-American community.

The church participated by having a program featuring a DVD relating the need of donors and a transplant recipient shared his personal experiences.

The Links learned that African-Americans are at risk for many health conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease, obesity and diabetes, which can lead to the need for a transplant. Although only 12 percent of the U.S. population is African-American, 35 percent of those on the national kidney transplant waiting list are black. Read the full story.

Colleges and Companies Ask Ohioans to Do It Now! and Register as an Organ & Tissue Donor
From PRNewswire in Columbus, Ohio.
The need is great. In Ohio, nearly 3,000 people are waiting for a life saving organ transplant. One Ohioan dies every other day waiting for a transplant.

Colleges and companies throughout Ohio are spearheading a statewide effort to dramatically increase the number of registered organ and tissue donors by encouraging Ohioans to Do It Now! -- and save lives.

As part of a nationally directed goal from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the state of Ohio has been challenged to increase new organ and tissue donor registrations by 20 percent by April 2008. In working to accomplish that goal, Donate Life Ohio (DLO), its affiliated organ procurement organizations (OPOs), tissue and eye recovery agencies and the Second Chance Trust Fund, are launching the Do It Now! donor registration campaign.

Ohio colleges and companies are critical partners in helping achieve this challenging but worthwhile goal, which is aimed at the millions of Ohioans who are eligible but not currently registered.

"The need for more registered organ donors is urgent when you consider that less than one percent of all hospital deaths meet the criteria for organ donation, just one in a hundred," said Art Thomson, Chairman of the Second Chance Trust Fund. "People have the power to save the lives of up to eight people and heal up to 50 more through tissue donation. They just need to do it now and register." Read the full article.

Save a life. Sign up
Jade Stoner

HER MEMORY BRINGS HOPE: Jade Stoner, 7, who died following a road accident near her home at Somerford in Christchurch in the U.K. reports that hundreds of people have been touched by the moving pictures of seven-year-old Jade Stoner's final moments with her family.

Now we are asking as many people as possible to sign up to the organ donation register to help give the 9,000 people awaiting a transplant, the chance for life.

With this week marking the 40th anniversary of the world's first heart transplant, we are encouraging our readers to take a moment and consider the life-saving choice before a tragic turn of events forces the decision upon them.

In choosing to donate their seven-year-old daughter's organs, the family has helped to save four lives, including those of two babies who received Jade's heart and liver.

When Debbie Stoner released the personal image to raise the campaign's profile, she never expected the staggering response she received. Readthe complete article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

House Moving to Facilitate Paired Organ Donations
CQ Politics reports that The House (U.S. Government) was expected to pass legislation Tuesday to ease the way for organ donations by unrelated living donors.

The measure seeks to remove potential legal obstacles to paired organ donations.

These occur when a patient in need of a kidney or other organ donation has a living donor — typically a spouse or relative — whose organ is incompatible with that patient. But a second patient needing a kidney donation also has a living donor who is incompatible. If the donor for the second patient has an organ compatible with the first patient, and vice versa, a paired organ donation may take place.

The original version of the House bill clarified that paired kidney donations should not be considered to involve the transfer of a human organ for “valuable consideration.” Therefore, no criminal penalties would apply to paired kidney donations.

While that version applied only to kidney donations, the Senate passed a broader measure that allowed for “human organ paired donation and similar practices.”

The House is ready to go along with broadening the bill to allow paired donations of all human organs, but it insists on eliminating the phrase, “and similar practices.” The Senate now will have to decide whether to accept the House change and send the bill to President Bush for his signature.

Perth wins right to host 2008 Australian Transplant Games
MORE than 1,200 national and international competitors will descend on Perth next October to compete in the 11th Australian Transplant Games.
From Perth Now: Tourism Minister Sheila McHale said it would be the first time that Perth had played host in the biennial games' 20-year-history.

"The 2008 Australian Transplant Games consist of 19 sporting and recreational events over six days of competition," Ms McHale said.

"Events include everything from chess and backgammon to sports such as tennis, squash, athletics and swimming.

"Competitors include transplant recipients and people currently undergoing dialysis."

The Minister said the State Government had invested $50,000 into the event, which was expected to attract about 500 interstate and international visitors.

"I'd like to acknowledge Lotterywest's significant contribution of $150,000 which will enable significant community participation," Ms McHale said.

"The games, which run from October 4-11, 2008, promote physical activity and show that transplant recipients are able to return to a good quality of life.

"It also increases awareness of organ donation in the local community." Read the article.

Donors give the gift of life
The Bismarck Tribune reports that in August, a new state law made it possible for North Dakota teens to make the decision to be an organ donor on their driver's license application, although it is subject to parent permission. More than 1,000 North Dakota minors registered this way in two months. The article also discusses organ donation in general and the importance of talking to your family about your wishes regarding organ donation. Read the article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Organ transplant: Have one on me, mate
Andy Williamson faced years on dialysis. Then his friend and fellow band member made an offer he couldn't refuse: one of his own kidneys. Rob Sharp reports in The Independent.

If you had, perchance, wandered down to London Bridge last week, you might have heard a peculiar sound wafting around the area's medieval lanes. The Organ Grinders, an off-beat, slightly eccentric jazz-funk outfit of brass, guitars, Hammond organ and drums, was playing a tight, one-off set at The Clink, a musty onetime prison- turned-museum. And if you had strolled inside, you may have seen the band burst into one of its concluding numbers, "Live Life Then Give Life", a bizarre title for serious musicians, but with an important message: to promote living kidney donation.

Earlier this year, the band's saxophonist, Andy Williamson, underwent a kidney transplant, and the organ had been donated by the band's keyboard player. The concert's aim was to raise awareness of transplantation. This could all have seemed rather too earnest, if it were not for the stench of stagnant water and the waxworks of prisoners in stocks. Read the full article.

Transplant Smackdown – Organ Bureaucrats Attack Organ Donors of Hickory, North Carolina reports that LifeSharers, a grass-roots network of organ donors, is defending the rights of organ donors against an assault launched by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations.

LifeSharers is a network of over 10,000 registered organ donors who want to donate their organs to other organ donors. The AOPO is a lobbying and support group for federally-licensed organ procurement organizations.

LifeSharers members use a process called directed donation to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. AOPO’s document titled “Talking Points: Countering LifeSharers” criticizes organ donors for exercising their right to determine who gets their life-saving gift. That right is enshrined in federal and state law. Read the complete article.

'Transplant tourist' defends trip
BBC News reports about father-of-two Mark Schofield, 44, from Porthcawl, who was followed by BBC Wales' Week in Week Out team on his journey to Asia to buy a new kidney.

The ex-European surfing champion said a shortage of UK organ donors forced him to try to buy a new kidney abroad.

But despite travelling to Asia, he was told the donor organ he had hoped to use was not compatible. Read the full story which includes a reaction from the British Medical Association.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Monday, December 03, 2007

A tribute to Peter Laurence

Peter Laurence & wife Lynne

Peter Laurence with wife Lynne

Peter Laurence was honored at a ceremony at Toronto General Hospital November 28th and remembered in a tribute to his 6 years of "giving back" following his double-lung transplant in 2001 due to cystic fibrosis. He passed away September 30th. Peter was chair of the Lung Transplant Open golf tournament that raised $63,000 for lung transplant research at the hospital in the 3 years the event has been held. A photo journal of the tribute to Peter is posted at Tribute photos.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

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$53,342.86 raised
for lung transplant research

Breathe in Life Walk check presentation
Transplant Open Golf check presentation

Two fundraising events in support of lung transplant research at Toronto General Hospital this year netted $53,342.86. The Breathe in Life Walk raised $23,342.86 and the Lung Transplant Open golf tournament raised $30,000. Checks were presented to Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, Director, Lung Transplant Program and Dr. Lianne Singer, Medical Director, at a ceremony at the hospital November 28th. See more photos at Check presentations.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

‘Opt-out’ bid on kidney donation
icWales reports that people could automatically become organ donors after their death if the first attempt to change the law on presumed consent is passed.

Baroness (Ilora) Finlay yesterday launched her Kidney Transplant Bill which aims to address the serious shortage of donated organs and reduce the length of time patients wait for a new kidney.

If it becomes law it will also shift the emphasis from the current opt-in method of organ donation towards a presumption that people wish to give after death.

The Bill will allow an authorised transplant team to remove one kidney from a dead patient for the purpose of transplantation to a live human unless the donor has previously opted out of organ donation.

The Bill deals only with kidney transplantation and does not give power to remove any other organ from a dead person.

There are currently 6,663 people waiting, for an average of three years, for a kidney transplant in the UK – more than 300 people in Wales are waiting for a kidney transplant.

In the last five years almost 1,500 people have died awaiting a kidney transplant. Read the full article.

Heart and lung transplant girl dies
From the star online in Malaysia:
KULAI: The country’s first simultaneous heart and lung transplant recipient Siti Salmah Jasni, 18, was showing signs of improvement, smiling and asking to sit up. Then, hours later, at 5.40am Tuesday, she died.

Her father, lorry driver Jasni Zainal, 52, said he could not believe she was gone.

“She was getting so much better. She could smile and respond. She even asked to be helped to sit up the night before she died,” he said, adding that she had also waved at him. Read the full story.

Forty years since first transplanted heart beats in S.Africa
From AFP:
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) — Forty years ago, in the middle of the night at a Cape Town hospital, South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard rewrote medical history when he carried out the first ever heart transplant.

The operation captivated the imagination of the world, catapulting Barnard and South Africa onto the world stage and leading to hundreds of similar operations around the globe.

Dene Friedman, who was in the theatre during the groundbreaking operation, assisting with the running of the heart-lung machine, remembers the surgery "as if it were yesterday".

"Nobody took a photograph, nobody did anything ... We didn't think of the publicity side of it," she told AFP.

Barnard had not even told the hospital that he would be attempting the operation, giving little thought to the reaction his techniques would generate.

"Professor Barnard told them in the early hours of the next morning. He just gave a phone call," remembers Friedman.

"We just thought that we were doing something worthwhile for the patient," she said of Louis Washkansky, a 53-year-old diabetic with incurable heart disease who had suffered three heart attacks.

Barnard had already practised the basic surgical technique for the transplant -- that was pioneered by other surgeons on animals -- in the laboratory. He only needed one donor to put this knowledge into practice. Read the complete story.

FDA Panel Supports Thoratec Heart Device
FDA Panel Unanimously Recommends Approval for Thoratec's Second-Generation Heart Pump

As reported by CNN Money:
NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Government advisers recommended U.S. approval for Thoratec's next-generation heart pump Friday, despite the fact that a company study of the device fell just short of its goal.

The 10 members of the Food and Drug Administration's heart device panel voted unanimously in favor of clearing the HeartMate II for heart-failure patients awaiting transplant. The device, which helps weakened heart chambers pump blood throughout the body, is a smaller version the original HeartMate model.

The panel's endorsement came on the condition Thoratec conduct a follow-up study of the device after it reaches the market to monitor internal bleeding and other safety issues. FDA does not have to follow the advice of its panels, though it often does.

Prior to the meeting, FDA released results of a 126-patient study showing the low range of HeartMate II's success rate was 64 percent, just under the 65 percent goal needed to prove effectiveness. Success was based on whether the patient survived at least 180 days with device, or long enough to receive a heart transplant. Read the full article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

Organ donor reality falling short of hopes
From The Australian, December 1, 2007.
More Australians than ever are registered to donate organs, but the numbers aren't translating to more transplants, writes Lynnette Hoffman.
TO businessman Marvin Weinman, it is simple maths that doesn't add up: nearly 5.5 million Australians are registered to donate their organs and that figure is climbing.

So how is it that the overall number of donors per million Australians is lower now than it was 20 years ago -- while other countries, such as Spain and the US, have doubled numbers?

Just over two years ago Weinman co-founded the lobby group Sharelife in an effort to rectify that disparity. Sharelife has since hired companies such as Bain and Company and The Leading Edge to research the world's best practice in organ donation and figure out why Australia isn't getting the same results as overseas.

As of October this year 1855 Australians were on waiting lists for organ transplants. But in 2006 just 739 transplants were performed from a total of 202 donors.

One of those waiting for a transplant is 60-year-old Anthony Parrelli, a Vietnam veteran who four years ago was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease often found in miners or people exposed to asbestos. Parrelli now depends on an oxygen machine to keep him alive. It's meant a huge loss of freedom -- he becomes short of breath just from speaking, and activities such as walking up a flight of steps or cutting the grass are no longer possible for him.

He's had to quit his job as a fruit and vegetable wholesaler and he's no longer able to help with local soccer training. The limitations have left Parrelli bordering on depression. He sees a transplant as an opportunity to restore some of the life he used to have. Read the full story.

Chances of infection low, organ donation official says
From The Jeffersonian in Maryland.
While the news that four recipients in Chicago became infected with HIV and hepatitis C after organ transplants caught many off guard, the head of a Lansdowne-based organization that helps facilitate organ donations in Maryland said chances of another such incident are slim.

Charlie Alexander, president and chief executive officer of the Living Legacy Foundation on Twin Springs Road in an industrial park off Washington Boulevard, said the last report of an organ recipient contracting HIV from a donation had been in 1986. Read the article.

Program to educate students on organ donation in Florida reports that students at four area schools will participate in a program presented by Chain Reaction this week to encourage organ donations.

The program was organized in honor of 16-year-old William McMahon, a former student at Brown Barge Middle School and Pensacola High School who was unable to find a donor after liver failure two years ago.

Volunteers from Chain Reaction, Pensacola's teen volunteer center, will take William's story into classrooms at his former schools, West Florida High School of Advanced Technology and Washington High School. The program's objective is to educate students about organ donation and encourage them to have a conversation with their parents about being an organ donor. Read the full story.

Transplant recipient drawing attention to organ donation
Transplant recipient Andrea Needham
Tv3 in New Zealand broadcast a story about Andrea Needham who, eight months ago, had the double lung transplant which has given her a new life.

Transplant recipients are not told their donor's identity unless the family agrees.

Thus far, the family which donated lungs to Needham has not been in touch.

That is why Needham organised the first ever transplant team for Taranaki's “Around the Mountain” relay – it is a way of publicly thanking the donor family she may never get to meet.

In the last twenty years around 300 families have donated the organs of a relative.

But doctors will not go ahead if close relatives get cold feet, even when "donor" appears on your license.

That is one of the primary reasons why Needham urges people to talk about organ donation with their family. View the article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

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