Methodist Hospitals Celebrates Life with Special Flag Raising Ceremony

We should be celebrating organ donors and putting an emphatic spotlight on the importance of becoming a donor all year long. There is no designated time that people utilize to require a much needed transplant, so why should we only spread awareness sometimes? This notion can apply to many things besides organ donations, and there are many people in need so every little bit helps.

Methodist Hospitals feels this way as they held a Donate Life Flag Raising Ceremony in early May to spread awareness of organ and tissue donation. It was a lovely spring morning at the Northlake Campus as staff, community leaders, and others gathered to celebrate life.

Raymond Grady, President and CEO of Methodist Hospitals read a proclamation that dubbed May of 2015 as National Donate Life Month. He encouraged everyone to become a donor as one life can save many.

"The people at Methodist Hospitals join to recognize those who are inspired to give the gift of life through organ, eye, and tissue donation," Grady said. "There are nearly 125,000 Americans and 1,500 Hoosiers who are currently waiting for a life saving organ transplant. There are more than 1,000,000 life enhancing tissue transplants each year that are made possible by the generous donations of corneas, bones, skin, and other tissues and we can all help to enhance or save the lives of more than 25 recipients be signing up to become an organ, eye, and tissue donor."

Diana Goodwin, Director of Nursing Quality and Regulatory Compliance at Methodist Hospitals took to the podium next, stating that she was proud to be the Chair of the Donate Life Committee for Methodist Hospitals and that Methodist Hospitals is proud of the partnership that has been formed between it and Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network, which is part of the Hospitals for Hope Campaign.

"This will help to raise awareness on organ and tissue donation," Goodwin said. "It will encourage our staff, physicians, and the community to register their decision to save lives."

You can register to become a donor and show your support for the campaign by visiting

A special honor was given as Kevin Cmunt, President and CEO of Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network paid homage to fallen Merrillville police officer, Nick Schultz. Schultz' family was present, and they were able to take solace in the fact that Officer Schultz' life lives on in the five people that he was able to save because he was an organ donor.

"This family was able to find graciousness and generosity in the moment of their most tragic loss," Cmunt said. "We have the opportunity to rewrite the end of the story. Nick didn't die as a tragic loss and that was the end of his story; his story continues on in the people that he saved."

Sonji Woods is a donor recipient who received a kidney three years ago. Almost constant dialysis sue to kidney failure for nearly four years, Woods suffered both mental and physical pain as her body fought itself. Her case was unique and tough because she was allergic to many things that others in a hospital setting can normally tolerate, which took tolls on her body. She told her story to the crowded room, thanking her donor family and everyone who helped her. 

"I got called three times for a transplant and third time's a charm," Woods said. "I don't think I could have made it another year without my kidney. I can't say thank you enough to my donor family, the medical staff who helped me, and Gift of Hope. You don't know how important you are to the process so keep up the good work!"

The ceremony concluded with the Donate Life Flag being blessed by Reverend Dr. David Neville as the Schultz family held it tightly. Another flag was raised outside in front of the campus and everyone watched in respectful silence.

Please consider becoming an organ donor today. If you already are, encourage others to take that step and let their lives live on in others.