They included men and women, young and old, with medical conditions of varying severity, but with a single common thread: that a donated heart, liver, kidney or pancreas helped save their lives.
On Friday, UC Health leaders and members of the organ, eye and tissue donation community gathered at UC Medical Center to celebrate those patients, as well as the countless families and individuals whose selfless gift made that possible.
“At UC Health, we are able to save many lives through transplantation due to those who have generously donated an organ to someone else. In many cases, organ, tissue, and eye donation cements the legacy of our donors by turning a tragic event into a lifesaving opportunity. We are proud to honor these heroes, as well as the families who have supported their wishes,” said Corey King, executive administrative director of transplant services for UC Health.
Those who attended the ceremony heard remarks from Amanda Garcia of Monroe, whose teenage daughter Kaylie Jackson saved six lives following her death in April 2018; and Ross Township schoolteacher Jennifer Fawns, who received Kaylie’s kidney and pancreas after living with Type 1 diabetes for two decades.
Garcia and Fawns first met last fall, where Fawns learned about Kaylie: her dream of becoming a surgeon, her dedication to school and her family, and her love of sunflowers.
“Be someone’s sunflower,” Fawns told the audience. “Be the light in a time of darkness.”
The event also included remarks from Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld; LifeCenter Executive Director Barry Massa; and Amit Govil, MD, medical director of kidney transplant for UC Health. WLWT-TV reporter and anchor Alexis Rogers, an award-winning journalist for her coverage of organ donation and transplantation, served as emcee.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a special blue and green flag was raised outside UC Medical Center to serve as a constant reminder of the precious gift of life – and the importance of choosing organ and tissue donation. April is National Donate Life Month.
Attendees also received a “Hope Stone” as a special reminder of the lifelong connection between organ, eye and tissue donors and their recipients. The stones are made at Brazee Street Studios in Oakley by members of the UC Health Transplant team and are gifted to every transplant recipient at UC Medical Center.
For more than 50 years, UC Health’s UC Medical Center has provided excellence in transplantation, breakthrough treatments and research, and compassionate patient-centered care.
In 2018, UC Medical Center ranked 16th in the nation among liver transplant centers and 40th in the nation among kidney transplant centers for the number of transplants performed, a measure of a program’s strength and success, along with other measures such as patient outcomes and academic research.
Earlier this month, UC Medical Center performed the first-ever liver transplant in the United States with an organ preserved using portable hypothermic machine perfusion, part of a multi-center national clinical trial to evaluate whether the method results in better outcomes for patients.
The experts at UC Health perform heart, kidney, liver, pancreas, bone marrow and multi-organ transplants as well as a wide breadth of academic and clinical research related to transplantation.