April is National Donate Life Month. The hospitals of Community Healthcare System, in partnership with Gift of Hope and the Indiana Lions Eye Bank, will recognize the gift of organ, eye and tissue donation with events and activities at its three area hospitals: Community Hospital in Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart.
Each Community Healthcare System hospital will fly the Donate Life flag for the entire month of April and will host a pinwheel display on site in recognition of each donor from the three hospitals during 2016. The blue-and-green pinwheels, this year’s Donate Life Month symbol, represent opportunity and energy.
“Everyone has the opportunity to affect another person’s life through donation,” said Donald P. Fesko, FACHE, president and chief executive officer, Community Healthcare System. “We hope that by displaying the Donate Life flag and pinwheels that people will stop, take notice and take action to sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. It’s one small way we can salute those who have given someone the most precious gift of all – the gift of life.”
On Monday, April 3, St. Catherine Hospital will formally acknowledge the start of Donate Life Month with a flag-raising and pinwheel ceremony in the main lobby. On Tuesday, April 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the hospital will host a Donate Life registration table in the main lobby, 4321 Fir St. in East Chicago.
On Wednesday, April 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Community Hospital will host a Donate Life registration table near the cafeteria, Café 901, lower level, 901 MacArthur Blvd., Munster.
On Thursday, April 6, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., St. Mary Medical Center will host a Donate Life registration table in the West lobby near the Waterfall Café, 1500 S. Lake Park Ave., Hobart. This will be followed by a flag-raising and blessing ceremony at 3:30 p.m. at the East entrance to the hospital.
“At the registration tables, hospital visitors and employees will be able to sign up for the Indiana Donor Registry and learn more about how donation works and why it is so important,” said Community Healthcare System’s Director of Bio-Ethics Jana Lacera.
Community Healthcare System hospitals had a total of seven organ donors in 2016. The receiving transplant centers were able to transplant 13 lifesaving organs. Tissue donors totaled 46 for the same year. Potentially 188 individuals will receive the gift of sight from the 94 corneal donors.
“Over the years, the system has been so successful in their efforts to facilitate donation because of a close working relationship with Gift of Hope and the Indiana Lions Eye Bank,” explained Lacera.
One organ, eye or tissue donor can save or enhance more than 75 lives. There are an estimated 119,000 people waiting for an organ right now, according to Donate Life America. Another person is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes.
The hospitals of Community Healthcare System also offer expectant parents an opportunity to donate their babies’ amniotic fluid, umbilical cord, umbilical cord blood and placenta following birth. These tissues, which would otherwise be discarded, contain non-embryonic stem cells that may be used for transplantation or research. Families choosing to donate these tissues receive a certificate of donation for their babies.
To learn more about Community Healthcare System, its hospitals, physicians and services, visit comhs.org.
Register your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, by visiting www.donatelifeindiana.org