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University of Missouri Health Care News Releases
Donate Life Month ceremony honors local donors

April 19, 2010                                                                             Contact: Matt Splett
                                                                                                      Media Coordinator
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    (573) 882-5663

COLUMBIA, Mo. — University of Missouri Health Care joined Midwest Transplant Network and Heartland Lions Eye Banks in celebrating the lives of local donors and promoting Donate Life Month on Friday, April 16. A donor health fair and donor dedication ceremony were held at noon that day in the main lobby of University Hospital.

Local donor families and recipients, along with health care professionals, were invited to attend the event. The health fair featured informational booths about donation and provided an opportunity for guests to register for the Missouri Organ and Tissue Donor Registry.

During the dedication ceremony, donor families made a two-dimensional decorated flower in memory of their loved one that will be displayed in a shadow box in the University Hospital lobby. In addition, 2008 University Hospital donor families were presented a rose and certificate in recognition of their loved one’s entry in the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. Roses representing each of the 80 donors from University Hospital in 2008 were featured on the Donate Life float entry in the parade.

“University Hospital and Midwest Transplant Network are partners in promoting the importance of organ donation, and through this partnership we operate a highly successful donor program,” said Lori Kramer Clark, hospital services coordinator for Midwest Transplant Network. “This Donate Life Month event brings together donor families and recipients to meet and share their stories of how their lives were changed through donation and transplantation.”

More than 28,000 lives are saved each year in the United States through the gift of organ donation. Yet, the need for transplantation continues to outpace the availability of organs. Nationally, more than 106,000 people are currently awaiting a life-saving transplant. 

“Joining the organ donor registry is a selfless act that could forever change the life of a transplant recipient,” said Stevan Whitt, M.D., a critical care physician and medical director of the Medical and Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital. “A single donor can save the lives of up to eight people and enhance the lives of at least 50 others.”

Missouri residents are encouraged to learn more about becoming donors by visiting the Midwest Transplant Network’s Web site at www.mwtn.org or signing up for the Missouri donor registry at www.missouriorgandonor.com.

Midwest Transplant Network partners with University Hospital to provide organ donation services to the community. Using collaborative teams, they educate the public, analyze data and identify methods to improve and maintain the donation services available to mid-Missourians.

In recognition of the collaborative efforts, University Hospital was awarded the 2009 Medal of Honor for Organ Donation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. University Hospital has won the Medal of Honor four consecutive years and is the only hospital in mid-Missouri to ever receive the award.

Midwest Transplant Network is an organ procurement organization. Founded in 1973, its mission is to provide quality transplantation-related services that will maximize the availability of organs and tissues to the community. The not-for-profit corporation serves Kansas and western Missouri.

Heartland Lions Eye Banks is a division of the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation with the mission to preserve and restore sight. Based in Columbia, Mo., Heartland Lions Eye Banks operates throughout Missouri and in parts of Illinois and Kansas, providing tissue corneal transplants worldwide.

University of Missouri Health Care’s network of hospitals, clinics and telehealth sites reaches across the state of Missouri. Each year more than 20,000 patients are cared for in its hospitals and more than 500,000 patients are treated in its clinics. University Hospital and Clinics, Children’s Hospital, Columbia Regional Hospital and Ellis Fischel Cancer Center are based in Columbia, Mo. University Hospital offers the area’s only Level I Trauma Center and burn intensive care unit. Children’s Hospital is mid-Missouri’s only comprehensive pediatric facility with more than 30 specialties. CRH provides the area’s most comprehensive medical team for women’s health and houses the Family Birth center and Level III neonatal intensive care unit. Dedicated solely to cancer, Ellis Fischel is the state’s designated cancer center and offers the region’s most comprehensive screening program. The health system also includes a long-term acute care facility, Missouri Rehabilitation Center, in Mount Vernon, Mo.

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