Organ donation encouraged with ‘Threads of Life Quilt’ project

See why families of donors – and lifesaving medical transplant recipients, as well – say it’s never too late to sign up …

At Adventist Medical Center, Donate Life Northwest Executive Director Maryjane Hunt tells about “the miracle of organ donation”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Bringing attention to April being “Donate Life Month”, the “Threads of Life Quilt” made its way around Oregon, stopping at Adventist Medical Center (AMC) on April 21.

In the hospital’s soaring atrium, Donate Life Northwest Executive Director Maryjane Hunt talked about the program.

“We are responsible for all the public education and awareness about Oregon tissue and eye donation,” Hunt told East Portland News. “We encourage people to make a decision and become a donor – and, most importantly, to talk to their family and let them know that they have made that decision.

The audience at the presentation is made up of volunteers, donor families and recipients.

“We are presenting our 15th ‘Threads of Life’ quilt,” Hunt went on. “The quilt is comprised of squares that are submitted by donor families. They have lost a loved one and the loved one donated eyes or tissue, organs, or maybe all.”

And, other quilt squares are submitted by the recipients of life-saving gifts, she added. “This is so important, because, in Oregon alone, there are more than 900 patients waiting for organ transplants, and thousands of others that are in need of cornea transplants, or tissue such as bones, skin, or hearts.”

Maryjane Hunt encourages everyone to consider becoming a donor.

Never too old
When it comes to making medical donations, age can be a factor in some cases, Hunt said.

“But, we tell people that – regardless of their age, eyesight, or medical history – to go ahead and register, and know that at the time potential donation, they will be evaluated, as will their health history. No donation will occur unless they actually meet the criteria.”

AMC Administrator of Patient Services Cindy Nutter, RN, MSN, is flanked by Donate Life Northwest Development Coordinator Anna Pappert, and Development Director Sara Patinkin.

“Here at AMC, we’ve partnered with Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank for years, said the hospital’s Administrator of Patient Services Cindy Nutter. “Together, we provide education for our staff, and awareness in our community about the value of donation.  We teach people about the opportunity to save lives through tragedy.”

Donate Life Northwest volunteer Leslie Coefield – and the parent of a donor – points to the quilt patch commemorating her son’s gift of life.

Donate Life Northwest volunteer Leslie Coefield said she’d been familiar with the program for some time, and expected be a donor herself “if anything happened to me as an adult”.

“Then, my seven-year-old son had a tragic accident in 1993,” Coefield said. “We were at the hospital, and were given the opportunity to make the decision to donate.

“It seemed like the very right thing to do,” Coefield explained. “I’m really glad that we did, because he was able to restore eyesight to two young people, and other tissues were given for use in another young person – needed because of a failed heart transplant.

“Our son lives on, in them.”

During the formal presentation, attendees learned that becoming a registered donor in Oregon is simple: Add the “D” code on your Oregon Driver’s License application when you are up for renewal or when you are getting your license, permit, or ID card, for the first time.

For more information about Donate Life Northwest, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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