April is Donate Life Month and, while we often celebrate the success of organ and tissue transplants and take great joy in the lives saved and healed, we can sometimes forget about the generosity and selflessness of donors who have given others the gift of life and healing.
On Saturday, April 5, 3 to 5 p.m., in Kiewit Auditorium in the University of Arizona Cancer Center, the University of Arizona Medical Center will hold its annual Donor Family Tribute to honor Arizona donors and their families for saving and healing lives through organ and tissue donation. The event is held in conjunction with the Donor Network of Arizona. Families will be invited to speak about their loved one and will receive a token of gratitude in the form of a special Ben’s Bell, distributed by Tucson double-lung recipient Travis Brown.
Among donor families attending the ceremony is Cheryl McCarthy of Tucson, whose daughter, Michele, passed away at UAMC following a car accident a few years ago. Michele, a 33-year-old mother of two, saved two lives through her generous decision to register as an organ donor many years before her passing.
"She was such a giving person," says Cheryl. "If you were moving, Michele was there. If you were painting your house, Michele was there. She knew how important life was, and if there was a chance to help someone else, she would do it."
Cheryl has become a great advocate for organ donation and wants to make sure that Arizonans know that their decision to register as a donor makes an impact, both for recipients and donor families.
"By passing her kidneys on to someone else, the joy of life was passed on as well. Michele lives on through others, and knowing this helps heal the pain of losing a loved one."
About Donor Network of Arizona
The Donor Network of Arizona (DNA) is the federally designated, not-for-profit, organ procurement organization for the state of Arizona and a tissue and eye recovery organization. DNA serves five organ transplant centers in Arizona with the combined capacity to perform heart, lung, kidney, pancreas and liver transplants. DNA shares organs regionally and nationally through the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS). It is an accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, American Association of Tissue Banks and the Eye Bank Association of America. Arizonans can sign up as registered organ and tissue donors when they apply for or renew their driver’s license or ID at the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). They can also become donors by signing up online at LiveOnAZ.org (click on “Register” in the top bar) or calling 1-800-94-DONOR. For more information, visit www.dnaz.org or DonateLifeAZ.org.
About The University of Arizona Medical Center
UAMC - University Campus along with its sister hospital, UAMC - South Campus, are part of the University of Arizona Health Network – Arizona's premier academic medical network. UAHN also includes Diamond Children's, the UA Cancer Center - North Campus and Orange Grove Campus, dozens of clinics, the University of Arizona Health Plans and the University of Arizona Physicians – which is the practice plan for faculty physicians of the UA College of Medicine. University Campus is Southern Arizona’s only Level 1 Trauma Center. As the primary teaching hospital of the UA Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy that – along with the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health – comprise the academic core of the Arizona Health Sciences Center, the hospital has been nationally recognized for providing exceptional patient care, teaching new health-care professionals and conducting groundbreaking research through physician-scientists across multiple disciplines. It is consistently listed among the nation’s top hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s prestigious “Best Hospitals” rankings. In 2014, UAMC also was named one of Becker's Hospital Review's 100 Great Hospitals. For appointments or further information, please visit uahealth.com.