Our Quarterly Newsletter April, 2010 * Volume 2, Issue 2 “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Sir Winston Churchill
Biological Resource Center Holds First Burials in Memorial Garden. In April, 2009, Biological Resource Center dedicated its Memorial Garden at Elm Lawn Cemetery in Elmhurst, Illinois during our first annual memorial service. The first burials of 23 donors requesting placement in our Memorial Garden took place early in April of this year. Five of those 23 donors were also organ and/or tissue donors. This year a wing was added to the memorial monument to have the names engraved on it of the donors buried at Elm Lawn. Many of our donors and their families find comfort in knowing that there loved one’s cremated remains are located in this lovely setting. It is place where they can come to visit, meditate or offer prayers.
Elm Lawn Cemetery raised the Donate Life Flag in honor of National Donate Life Month and our service. We thank Kristin McCoy and Mary Schlerth from Midwest Eye Banks, Gary Durante and Rick Lorstorfer from Durante Funeral Service and Dr. Jin C. Zhao from Evanston Hospital for taking time to be with us on Saturday morning. There is a Jewish reading that begins with “Birth is a beginning, death is a destination, and life is a journey.” We at Biological Resource Center are very grateful for our donor families for allowing us to be part of their loved one’s journey.
More than 40 people attended the service this year. Family members from as far away as Peoria and Springfield, Illinois traveled to Elmhurst. The service this year was again celebrated by Father Gene Szarek, Flute selections were provided by Rose Ernest.
Donation Corner. April is National Donate Life Month. From David Bosch, Communications Director, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network
Extraordinary lifesaving, medical advancements are made every day in the donation and transplantation community due to the dedication of medical professionals and the generosity of organ, tissue and eye donors and their families. April is National Donate Life – a time to recognize and honor these donors, their families, transplant recipients and the healthcare professionals who enable the gift of hope through donation and transplantation.
Throughout April, special events in hospitals, schools, businesses and communities are held to educate the public about donation and encourage people to join the
donor registry With nearly 4,700 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in Illinois, April is a great opportunity to empower individuals to make the lifesaving decision to register as organ/tissue donors. To date, more than five million Illinois residents have registered to be organ/ tissue donors. It takes only 30 seconds of your time to register, and that decision provides hope to those who are waiting for a second chance at life. This April, Donate Life Illinois – a coalition of agencies responsible for organ, tissue, eye, blood and marrow donation, as well as donor education and registration
in Illinois – is hosting a number of events and activities throughout Illinois including: April 1 - National Donate Life Month Kick Off Event – Illinois’ Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office will hold a press conference and air its new radio and television commercials to highlight the critical need for registered donors. The commercials feature Chicago Bears’ Cornerback, Charles Tillman, and the story of his personal connection to organ donation. To register as an organ, tissue and eye donor or to find events scheduled in your area, visit www.donatelifeillinois.org .
What’s new. National Healthcare Decision Day. Two things in life are certain, taxes and death. However, death is no longer as certain as it once was. Cases like Terri Schiavo’s remind us that most death occurs today only after someone has made a decision to refuse, limit or withdraw a medical treatment. The Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990 protects the autonomy of ever person over 18 to make these end-oflife treatment decisions by completing a Health Care Power of Attorney and preparing a Living Will. These documents, like the turning signals on a car, give direction to others about who we want to speak for us and what kind of medical treatment we want and do not want.
A person with no family member to accept the role may have a fiend who will take this urgent assignment, or the person may become a guardian of the state. Being a proxy is both a great responsibility and an honor that should be given to someone you trust with careful consideration. Choices should be discussed and copies of the forms distributed to everyone involved in future care. Directives should be updated and revised when your life, your relationship or your health condition change.
Although we hear these instructions all the time, “Pull the plug!” “Just bury me in the backyard!” If a person becomes hospitalized and unable to speak for and “My lawyer knows where everything is!” him or herself, the hospital will require a signed, witthey do not constitute effective advance direcnessed Healthcare Power of Attorney form that names a tives! End-of-life care choices include dialysis, proxy decision-maker. Without that legal form, The transfusion, tube feeding, ventilator support, and Illinois Surrogate Law gives the responsibility to make organ donation. life-or-death decisions to a family member.
People get catapulted into a crisis situation for which no one can ever be really prepared. Families can be destroyed by the conflicts that arise over facing agonizing decisions between prolonging death and causing suffering, or allowing a loved one to die. Our loved ones need, and deserve, to have these choices stated clearly in case they are asked to make them for us. Every life is a book. Wouldn’t it have a better ending if we wrote it all down instead of leaving it to chance? Free and legal advance healthcare directives forms and workbooks can be found at www.nhdd.org. Don’t wait until the book is closed. By Loretta Downs, President, Chicago End-of-Life Care Coalition
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