TriStar Centennial Hosted Ceremony to Raise Awareness
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – TriStar Centennial Medical Center hosted its first annual Donate Life Flag raising ceremony on campus April 29 to honor organ donors and raise awareness about the need for organ donation in our community.
Partnering with Donate Life Tennessee and Tennessee Donor Services, TriStar Centennial joined hospitals and businesses across the nation in recognizing April as National Donate Life Month.
“This was a unique opportunity for us to simultaneously honor those who have donated an organ, celebrate the lives of those who have received the gift of organ transplant, and raise awareness for the growing list of patients waiting for a life-saving organ transplant,” said Sean Daniel, clinical manager of the organ transplant program at TriStar Centennial . “Organ transplantation is possible with the selfless act of organ donation, both living donation or by becoming a registered organ donor.”
Guest speakers at the ceremony included living donor Jason Upchurch, a Nashville firefighter who donated a kidney to his captain last year, and 22-year kidney transplant survivor Dale Willis. Members of the Nashville Fire Department Color Guard raised the Donate Life flag at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Raising the flag was part of the Donate Life Flags Across America program that honors the hundreds of thousands of donors, donor family members and recipients symbolizing the uncountable lives touched by organ, eye and tissue donation. Organizers also hope it will motivate people to consider the benefits of organ donation and join the Donate Life Tennessee Donor Registry.
“We are pleased to join together with our hospital partners to honor those who provided the unselfish gift of life to others through donation,” said Sharon Pakis, public education manager for Tennessee Donor Services. “One person can save or enhance the lives of over 50 individuals. Through education on organ and tissue donation we have the opportunity save more lives through transplantation.”
In 2012, 426 Tennesseans gave the Gift of Life, resulting in 738 lives being saved. There is still a community need that far exceeds the number of those who give.
Donate Life Tennessee said that while most Americans are in favor of donation, many believe they are too old or unhealthy to donate, and others simply don’t take the steps required to sign up.
Almost everyone can be an organ donor. There is no age limit to organ donation and very few diseases preclude donation.
According to Donate Life Tennessee, more than 1,800,000 Tennesseans have joined the Donate Life Tennessee Organ & Tissue Donor Registry either online or through the Department of Safety. On average nearly 3,500 people are added each week. While the rate falls far short of nationwide goal to register 50% of each state’s licensed drivers, Tennessee’s registry is growing quickly.
Tennesseans can register to be an organ donor by simply Checking YES when applying for or renewing their driver’s license. A small red heart is then placed on the driver license. Online registration is also available at www.donatelifetn.org.
Donate Life Tennessee is a non-profit, state-authorized organ and tissue donor registry, administered by the state’s two organ procurement organizations (OPO), responsible for facilitating the donation process in Tennessee: Tennessee Donor Services and Mid-South Transplant Foundation. The Donate Life Registry assures that all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized OPO personnel.
Organ Donation Statistics:
- There are currently more than 117,000 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant in the United States
- 2,500 of these people live in Tennessee
- Every 18 minutes a patient on the organ donation waiting list will die
- Every 10 minutes a new name will be added to the organ donation waiting list