Giving the gift of life through organ donation is one of the most selfless acts one can do. For the over 120,000 people currently waiting for a transplant, that gift means the world. The medical staff at Porter Regional Hospital knows this fact all to well, which is why they have decided to recognize April as Donate Life Month, an event which they kicked off on Thursday with a flag ceremony.
Nurse Coordinator Beverly Holsinger was quick to note why today’s event was so important, “It’s great that we can help save so many people’s lives and enhance their lives with these organ and tissue donations. We’re celebrating the fact that there are people who are willing to give the gift of life through these donations.”
About 15,000 people in Indiana are currently on the waitlist for a transplant and unfortunately, many won’t receive them in time. With one organ donor being able to save up to eight lives and one tissue donor being able to heal up to 75 individuals, the importance of events like this was not lost on those who attended.
Attendees gathered at the hospital's flag poles to see the raising of the Donate Life flag, as well as hear speeches from people whose lives have been personally changed by organ donation. One of those attendees was Debbie Paholski, who is going on her seventh year of having been the recipient of a kidney.
“I’m here to support the cause and to get the word out about how good it is to donate your organs,” said Paholski.
Amanda Kuczmanski, Professional Service Coordinator for Donate For Life, also had a personal connection to todays event, “My mother is a kidney recipient, so being able to be out here and speak about her story is very important to me.”
During her speech, Kuczmanski also added that the staff at Porter Regional Hospital are a great supporter of those patients whom Donate For Life aims to help.
“The great care the staff provides for every patient and family along with their support of our [Donate For Life] mission help share hope and healing with donor families and organ, tissue, and eye transplant recipients.”
Porter Regional Hospital phlebotomist, Stephanie Mullen, also spoke at the days event where she talked about her husband’s past organ transplant.
“My husband was the recipient of a heart in 2015 at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne,” said Mullen. “He was the 300th heart transplant to take place at that hospital in the last 30 years.”
Mullen and her husband found out about his need for a new heart during a routine checkup. During their visit, doctors immediately admitted him to the hospital which as Mullen noted, prompted the humorous response from her husband, “I can’t, I got work tomorrow.”
As the speeches came to a close, Beverly Holsinger thanked the staff of Porter Hospital for their hard work.
“In 2017, Porter Regional Hospital was able to save the lives of five individuals and heal 2,500 lives through organ and tissue donation. Without the hard work and dedication of the medical team here at Porter, these individual’s donations wouldn’t have been possible.”
For those interested in how they could become an organ donor check out the Donate For Life website.