Issue 09 | Spring/Summer 2016
Help Us Celebrate Life!
LA AYUDA PARA EL TRASPLANTE
COMIENZA AQUÍ. SÁBADO POR LA, 11ª DE JUNIO DE Traído a usted por:
Lugar: Our Lady of the Americas 4603 Lawrenceville Hwy., Lilburn, GA 30047 Hora: 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Regístrese en: gatransplant.org/espanol Línea directa en español: 678-680-6550
14 IN EVERY ISSUE 04 06 08
A few words from the Foundation’s Executive Director.
Updates and news about the Foundation.
Cindy LaHue’s Story
Glavine Gives Back
Life After Transplant
Help Us Celebrate Life!
Information about some of the programs available through GTF. 08 JUMPSTART PROGRAM 16 EVALUATION ASSISTANCE 17 INSURANCE ASSISTANCE
GTF’s upcoming special events, Community Partner Group events, and educational conferences.
Living more than 25 years with a kidney transplant and still going strong. Glavine gives back to the transplant community for the 24th annual Tom Glavine Spring Training event. Giving back to the community after receiving a liver transplant. Help us kickoff our Celebrating Life campaign in 2016.
Director’s Note Someone asked once what our mission was as far as organ donation and we replied “celebrating life!” There is no better way for the world to see that transplantation works than to see people living active, happy, full lives post-transplant. Nothing is more rewarding to me than seeing that GTF was able to help people reach new heights after having a transplant! We started our Academic Scholarship Program in 1998 and have helped countless young people pursue new exciting careers. Two that make the “mom” in me smile are Kathryn Smith and Ken Sutha. Kathryn received not one but five new organs and has gone on to a Pediatric Transplant Hepatology Fellowship at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. Kidney transplant recipient, Ken, has studied at Yale, Georgia Tech, and Emory in getting his MD and is now at Stanford for a Nephrology Fellowship. Of course, not everyone will go on to such heights but the fact that people have lives that never would have been possible without transplant is a gift that is hard to overlook. Lester Crowell has had two heart transplants and today serves on the GTF Board of Directors, and puts on a huge event every year to raise funds to support others in the transplant community. Recently he danced in a Dancing With the Stars themed event, raising money for Alzheimer’s, showing the world there are no bounds to his energy... or giving heart! One of our other heart recipients has had his transplant for 30 plus years! He has gotten married, had children and now has grandchildren. He has never stopped working and never stopped living his life to the fullest! I started working with GTF as a volunteer and quickly learned that the transplant community is filled with people grateful for the life they have been given and are intent on living. I was inspired to join the GTF team and truly make a difference in people’s lives every day. Join us to Celebrate Life in 2016! You should be receiving a campaign letter in the mail from us soon. Help us continue to support the transplant community in Georgia by mailing your donation in the return envelope! In the meantime, we love hearing what is going on in your life! Send pictures and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. With your permission, we would love to share them on Facebook on in the next issue of Imprint Magazine! Sincerely,
PAT ROTCHFORD Executive Director LISA CARLOT TA Finance Director SANDY MCMATH, LCSW Director, Patient Services RITA MICHAELS, MA Director, Operations and Marketing CHERYL BELAIR Director, Development and Community Outreach LATONIA PATTERSON Manager, Transplant Fundraising Program REBEKAH MOSHIRI, LMSW Manager, Patient Services VIVIAN TOMLINSON Director, JumpStart Program MARTIE RUDD Manager, Patient Outreach
©2016 Issue 9. GTF Imprint Magazine is published bi-annually by the Georgia Transplant Foundation, 500 Sugar Mill Road, Building A, Suite 170, Atlanta, GA 30350. The acceptance of advertising in this publication does not constitute or imply endorsement by the Georgia Transplant Foundation of any advertised product or service.
One donor can save eight lives. Pass it on. It’s true. One donor can positively impact — and even save — up to eight lives. At the Piedmont Transplant Institute, it is an honor to have made thousands of these life-changing moments possible. You can make them possible, too. Give the gift of life. Register today to be an organ donor.
Visit piedmont.org/savelives to learn more.
Welcome new members of the board Georgia Transplant Foundation’s Board of Directors includes dedicated professionals from the four Georgia transplant centers and statewide organ recovery agency, community business leaders, transplant recipients and volunteers working together to improve the quality of life of those affected by transplantation. GTF has recently announced it has appointed two new members to the Foundation’s Board: Elijah Wise and Lester Crowell. “We are pleased to have Elijah and Lester join the Board. Each of these individuals bring vast experience and knowledge which will serve GTF well,” said Pat Rotchford, Executive Director of the Georgia Transplant Foundation. “We are looking forward to their contributions as the Foundation continues to grow.” LESTER E. CROWELL, JR.
Lester is a two-time heart transplant recipient and Managing Partner of Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique in Marietta. Lester began his career in the beauty industry in 1976 as a shampoo assistant. He quickly rose to the top of his industry and bought 6
out the original owners of Super Hair in 1984 which is now known as Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique. The 13,000 sq ft Salon and Spa is one of the largest in the Southeast with 100+ employees. Lester and his team have been awarded countless accolades for their abilities, creativity and artistic talent. At age 13 Lester was diagnosed with IHSS (Idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis). At the young age of 40 his condition took a turn for the worse and he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He was put on the transplant list for the first time at the age of 43. Hardly able to walk, talk or move, he laid at the hospital while the same disease took the life of his beloved mother who was suffering from the same genetic heart defect only two floors above him. With determination and strength, Lester continued working during his illness until he received the call from his transplant team on April 15, 2000 after being on the transplant list for only 5 days. Lester received a healthy and strong heart and after a speedy recovery he was able to join in on activities he never was able to do. After 9 years the transplanted heart developed a common threat to all transplanted organs, chronic rejection, similar to coronary artery disease. The doctors told Lester he was at high risk for a massive heart attack and the only option would be a second heart transplant. After living in fear for almost a year, Lester received the second call at 5:45 a.m. on December 3, 2010. Again Lester received
a healthy and strong heart with this being his 3rd heart. While in the hospital Lester reflected on the grace, fortune and protection he has been blessed with and at that moment it became a mission for him to make a difference in the lives of those touched by transplants and other hardships. This is when “Angels of Life” Hair & Fashion Show was born. This event has raised over $223,313 to support the Georgia Transplant Foundation. The event is celebrating it’s 6th year October 2, 2016 and is held at the Cobb Energy Centre. Lester is proud to have recently been elected as one of the newest board members for Georgia Transplant Foundation working to enrich the lives of those needing or receiving organ transplants. ELIJAH WISE
Elijah graduated from Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He has worked in Information Technology and Services including in his current position as Group Manager for Digital Marketing Technology at The Coca-Cola Company. Elijah is a kidney transplant recipient, a Mentor, and a member of the JumpStart Advisory Committee.
remembering sonny deavours
Loomis E. “Sonny” Deavours, Jr., a long-time GTF Board Member and loved member of the community, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on January 16 at the age of 70. As the founder of Brayson Homes, Sonny started his career selling new homes in subdivisions for other builders. Deavours knew he wanted to build homes, it was just a matter of building up some capitol. With much hard work, in the first year he built six houses and after more than 25 years, Brayson Homes built more than 6,300 homes, making them a leader in the Gwinnett Housing Market. When Tommy Smith, GTF’s Founder and a kidney recipient, bought a Brayson Homes house in 1994, his real estate agent introduced him to the company’s founder, Sonny Deavours, who received a kidney transplant from his sister in 1992. They came up with the idea of an annual “transplant house” fundraiser: a house is built by Brayon Homes, with much of the material and labor donated, then sold with profits going to the Foundation. Sonny was one of the most caring, loyal, and honest people you will ever meet. He will be truly missed.
• You play with the cards you were dealt. • When you load someone money consider it gone, but if you get it back it was a gift. • Nothin’s fair, but the County Fair. • A lot of people are worse off than I am. • You don’t have time to be around everyone, go see the sick people. • Let it go in one ear, and out the other. • When money is involved, morality is out the door. • Kill’em with kindness. • Hey Sugah • If at first you don’t succeed...try it again. • In order to get ahead in life, be your own boss.
jump start Nobody really likes change; unfortunately, change is part of Life. Changes in technology are reshaping the backdrop of our work and even how we go about finding work. The JumpStart Program is pleased to announce their new community partner and services that will help the transplant community to stay abreast of the new technology requirements to be successful in the workplace.
THREE NEW JUMPSTART SERVICES: “Roadmap to Success” Workshops In the past, JumpStart has conducted successful workshops that were both informative and helped prepare the clients for their job interviews. Since finding a job is greatly dependent upon the level of one’s computer literacy, this year JumpStart will offer computer training as part of their workshops. The computer training will provide instruction on “How to Find Jobs Online” with hands-on computer application in a classroom setting. Please come and join us if you are interested in learning about the following applications: • Applying for jobs online • Completing online applications • Using job boards and company websites • Utilizing a job search engine • Using keywords for job search...and much more. 8
For scheduled workshop dates, please check the “Happenings” section of this magazine or the GTF website at www.gatransplant.org. Access to Computer Computers today are part of our lives. This is why JumpStart has a new program that will allow the client to utilize a laptop computer to develop or enhance their computer skills, job search, and develop a resume, as well as to provide access to a world of training programs and materials
Our new services would not be possible without ITRenew, a Silicon Valley – based IT asset disposition service provider. ITRenew realizes that access to a computer is an essential ingredient to Jumpstart’s client’s success. Sadly, not all JumpStart clients have or can afford a quality, working computer to have the necessity tools to job search. Additionally, access to a compute allows JumpStart client to take full advantage of our program services. Thanks to ITRenew for their gracious computer donations, we have a resource to help clients pursue their career goals.
which will improve their chance to land their next job. The training and self-study materials available on the Internet is limitless, and online degrees are available for a satisfying career. This is a great time for transplant candidates waiting for a transplant to update and expand their skills, as well as transplant recipients who are recovering from their transplant. If you are undecided about what career to pursue as a transplant recipient, the JumpStart career counselor can help you with a useful online computer assessment tool. One-On-One Computer Basics Setting up a computer and personal accounts may seem to be an overwhelming task. JumpStart now offers a service to help with this process by providing step-by step instruction. One-on-one computer instructions include all of the basic concepts listed
as the following: Understanding operation system; understanding the Cloud; connecting to the Internet; setting up e-mail, Linked In, and much more. The Georgia Transplant Foundation encourages businesses to donate their quality surplus laptop computers to support the JumpStart initiative. For additional information on donating corporate laptop computers, please contact Vivian Tomlinson at (678) 514-1174.
Let me tell you a little about myself Hello my name is Cindy Hyde LaHue. I am a Kidney Mentor, Dialysis Center Liaison and a Kidney Transplant Recipient. At the age of 19, I was diagnosed with Kidney Disease. I know now that my disease is a form of Nephritis, which caused my kidneys to get hard and stop working. My disease was brought to my attention only after a routine physical revealed excessive protein in my urine. Being a teenager, going all the time, enjoying life and working, I never realized how swollen my legs and stomach were from holding all the fluid. 10
did not get worse before something else could be done. Unfortunately, my health continued to decline. At the age of 23, I got engaged and my kidney function was already almost at the end, with Dialysis being close. I spoke to my nephrologist and told him I wanted to wait until after my wedding and honeymoon to prepare for dialysis. I also wanted to wait and have my surgery for my Fistula after the wedding.
fter speaking with my nephrologist, we aggressively tried several different drug treatments to stop my kidney failure. Two kidney biopsies revealed that my kidneys were in steady decline. Complicating matters was the fact that my doctors were not sure exactly what my disease was or how I got it. I was told that in 10 to 15 years, I would be on dialyses. My nephrologist and I kept watching my kidney function to make sure it
stopped at a little store and bought a notebook to write down questions, phone numbers on who to call, and any other information that we needed to remember. We also talked on the way up about where we would be eating supper that night coming home, or who else to call in case I did go to surgery.
After my wedding, my husband Steve and I spoke with my nephrologist and told him I wanted to be on as many transplant lists as possible. I was sent to two different transplant centers for workup for the transplant waiting list. Not only was I newly married, I was also becoming a mother to a 5-year-old little girl and I knew that I was going to need some energy. I was married in May and started my transplant workup in June and July. My disease made me very tired, not wanting to get out of bed much less doing anything else with my new family. At the end of October, I received my letter from one transplant center that I was placed on their list. At the same time, I was at the second center getting my work up. On November 19th, 1991, I had just gotten home from picking up our daughter when the phone rang and it was the transplant center wanting to know if I would come up for a kidney. I was told that a cadaver kidney was being flown in but I was not the primary candidate. They said they needed me there as an alternate in case the first person was not able to receive the kidney. “Of course I can come,” I told the guy on the other end of the phone. I called my husband and told him about the call. I called my mama and told her we were on the way and she would be the first to hear if the transplant worked out. We immediately left on our four-hour drive to the transplant hospital. We
It was an exciting yet scary trip because we felt that this could be the first of many calls to come. I got to the hospital a little after 5 p.m. and went through all the blood work to make sure I was still healthy. Little did I know that the workup takes time, so in a room we went and waited for hours until we heard the test results! Steve was in college at the time and it was finals week, as we waited I told him to study and rest if I did go to surgery. He was obviously too stressed to concentrate on anything but my tests. Since I was not allowed to eat, Steve went down to the hospital cafeteria and ate supper without me, and unexpectedly met the husband of the primary recipient. Still waiting for some news we fell asleep somehow. By this time, we were sure the other candidate would get the kidney. At midnight, I was awakened by two nurses busily putting devices on my legs. Confused, I asked what they were doing and the reply was, “You are going to surgery girl!” Not having met the surgeon that night, I thought I would see him in the operating room. I was told by the nurses that he never comes to get his patients, but that night he came to get me. He came in the room and took off his mask long enough to tell us everything looked good for a successful seven-hour operation, and away we went. I always laugh when I think about this part, being only married for six
months leaving Steve at the elevator was hard on both of us and this was something new and kind of scary to be separated for the length of the surgery and for me never having major surgery. As I was being loaded into the elevator, the surgeon told Steve that I would be fine and he would be first to hear the results, he hit the close button, the open button, she will be fine he told Steve again, who refused to leave, then the close button one more time, then the open button again, this went on for a couple more times. I really don’t know who was more scared me or Steve or if it was the look on our faces. Finally, the door closed one last time and down we went to get the surgery started. After surgery and recovery, I awoke in my room with Steve, my mama and grandmother waiting to see me. Boy did they look good to me! Each day was more exciting as I watched my creatinine numbers get better, my strength and appetite returned, and I generally felt better. Something else that surprised me was my urine was yellow, not clear like it had been for years. I know, if you don’t have kidney disease you really don’t look at it. But for me, it was the prettiest color I had seen in years. To me, it meant that the gift of life that I had just been given was working inside me. I stayed in the hospital for seven days and I came home the day before Thanksgiving. The doctors were very surprised at how well I had done, as we understood I would be having our first Thanksgiving as a married couple in the hospital. Again, Steve and I had only been married for six months and two days when the transplant took place. Before being released from the hospital, I was told that I must return to clinic regularly to have my levels checked. At first it was twice a week, then once a week, then every other week, then once a month, every other month and then every three months, and now every six months. We sure put a lot of miles on our little car! Less than four weeks in, I went back for my normal checkup and my creatinine level was a little high, so they immediately admitted me in the hospital. I was told my body was starting to reject my precious kidney. After many tests, a biopsy, and a lot of drug therapy, the reports came back good that the rejection had stopped and I was going to recover. I continued to take my medication as instructed and with a few side effects for medicine, I have remained stable since. Thanks to my transplant, I was able to chase after a 5-year-old, take trips to the mountains and climb them, not just look at them from the car! I enjoy so many 12
things that I could not do before. After surgery and on one of my many trips to clinic the surgeon told me that they would like for me to wait for a couple of years to have a baby. So when I got home I told Steve what the doctor had told me. “Ok Steve,” I asked, “do you want a baby or a puppy?” With a big smile on his face he said, “Honey what kind of puppy do you want!” We called her Belle and now we have Callie, both are wonderful dogs who we cherish very much. While recovering from my transplant I was unable to work so I went back to college where I received the training I needed for my current job. After my transplant and college, I have been working for the last 22 years. Though some days I would like to stay home, I really appreciate the ability to work. I take my medication every day and I can count on one hand how many times I have missed work in almost 22 years. I am a kidney transplant recipient and come this November it will be 25 years since my life started again. Twenty-five years ago there was no Georgia Transplant Foundation, no mentor to call and no Internet information, just that huge blue notebook that the hospital sent home with us and the small one we bought on the way to the hospital. I have reread both many times. I look back and see where I started and how far I have come and I give all my praise to my Lord above for this was my miracle baby. I would do it again in a minute. I am a Kidney recipient, I lead a perfectly normal life and this is my story.
Cindy is a mentor with the Georgia Transplant Foundation. The Mentor Project provides oneto-one contact between people living successfully with a transplant and people who are new or adjusting to the world of transplantation. The Mentor Project has trained mentors (recipients, living donors, spouses, parents of pediatric recipients, and other family members) who have a desire to help support others through the transplant process. Mentors provide hope and encouragement, share their personal experiences, and most importantly, they’re good listeners. They offer support on an as-needed basis from a simple phone call to a hospital visit to personal meetings. Unlike a support group, in a mentoring relationship real life experiences are shared and even the smallest questions get answered privately and confidentially. For more information, please visit www.gatransplant.org or contact Martie at 678-514-1187 or MRudd@gatransplant.org.
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GIVING BACK On Sunday, March 20, former Atlanta Braves pitcher and Hall of Famer, Tom Glavine, gave back to the transplant community.
hanks to the generosity of Dr. Rene Romero who bought the “Tom Glavine pitching experience” live auction item at this year’s Spring Training event, ten children spent the afternoon with former Atlanta Braves pitcher, Tom Glavine. Dr. Romero chose ten children who received life-saving organ transplants from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to experience this once in a lifetime chance to get pitching lessons from the Hall of Famer at Coolray Field in Gwinnett. The kids and their parents had lunch in the Home Plate Club and then took pictures alongside Tom Glavine. They were able to have items autographed and to ask him questions during the exclusive meet-and-greet. The kids and Glavine then hit the field for some baseball hitting and pitching lessons. The smiles on the children’s faces were priceless and the memories will last a lifetime. We would like to thank Tom Glavine for donating his time, Dr. Romero for his generosity, and to thank North Johnson from the Gwinnett Braves, Coolray Field, Mike Sortor Photography, Melanie Calkins, and the many volunteers who came out to help and who coordinated all of the efforts to make this possible.
Spring training ‘16 We would like to thank all of the supporters of the 24th annual Tom Glavine’s Spring Training event. On the evening of January 30th, the Georgia Transplant Foundation held its signature fundraiser for the 24th consecutive year. The event, Tom Glavine’s Spring Training, presented by Piedmont Transplant Institute and Shane’s Rib Shack, raised more than $231,000. GTF will use the funds to provide financial, educational, and emotional assistance to the state’s transplant community. GTF would like to extend its gratitude to the more than 120 volunteers and the Spring Training planning committee who worked tirelessly to plan the event. We are grateful to the following sponsors and contributing participants who made this year’s event possible: Piedmont Transplant, Shane’s Rib Shack, Delta Tech Ops, Delta Flight Museum, Dr. and Mrs. Gallichio, Yuengling, Emory Transplant, E. & J. Gallo Winery, UPS Foundation, Augusta University Health, Denmark The Agency, The Deavours Family, Encompass Rx, Dr. Andy Smith, Audi Atlanta, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Holder Construction, LifeLink of Georgia, Dr. David Lowance, The Lumpkin Family, Dr. and Mrs. Carlos F. Zayas, Community: A Walgreens Pharmacy, Smith & Howard, Willis Towers Watson, Brown Bag Marketing, The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, Lefkoff Rubin Gleason & Russo P.C., Bernstein Global Wealth Management, Dr. Michael Horowitz, Dr. Eric Gibney, Dr. Joshua Wolf, Dr. Christina Klein, Drs. Lance and Tanya Stein, Dr. Miguel Tan, Carolyn and James Riticher, Friends of GTF, Dr. and Mrs. Roshan Shrestha, Dr. Kirk Kanter, Bill and Kay Backus, MJDC, Dr. David Markham, Ramie Tritt Family Foundation, Frank Family Foundation, The Yamada Family, Braves 400 Fan Club, Hudson Family Foundation, Atlanta Spa & Leisure, Magnum, Shepard Exposition Services, Fun-Tastic Promotions, Rick Nebel/RSN Designs, LLC, Genneva’s Custom Catering, Mike Sortor Photography, Catherine G. Photography, Aperturent, Scott Moore, Gray Saunders, Tom Clark, Brooks Coleman, and a special thank you to FLYER for the musical entertainment. For more information on the 25th annual Tom Glavine’s Spring Training, please contact Cheryl at email@example.com or by calling (678) 514-1181.
Potential candidates for transplant must travel to the hospital for evaluation in order to be listed for a transplant. These potential candidates often lack the resources to afford fuel and lodging costs associated with this travel.
3-5 Days is the average time the transplant evaluation process takes.
30 Days The number of days prior to evaluation that applications may be submitted.
assistance program T
he goal of the Georgia Transplant Foundation’s Evaluation Assistance Program is to provide access to transplantation by offering financial support to residents of Georgia who are seeking transplant evaluation. Grants are available to assist with lodging, fuel costs, and parking fees for the initial evaluation appointment. In order to be eligible to receive GTF’s Evaluation Assistance, you must be a legal permanent resident of Geor16
gia. In addition, the potential candidate for transplant must have their evaluation scheduled and live at least 75 miles away from their transplant center. Potential candidate may be referred by dialysis center or transplant center staff. Complete applications will include GTF application filled out by the patient and Evaluation Assistance form fully completed by dialysis clinic or transplant center staff. For more information, please visit www.gatransplant.org.
INSURANCE AssisTANCE Introducing the Georgia Transplant Foundation’s Insurance Premium Assistance Program
he diagnosis of an acute lifethreatening illness requiring transplantation for many is an unexpected event. As the medical crisis unfolds there are many demands on a family’s budget, creating a crisis for families who live to the full capacity of their income. The patient, usually unable to work, must now pay out of pocket for health insurance coverage.
COBRA health insurance coverage is costly and non-renal transplant candidates will not be eligible for Medicare coverPlease visit our age for up to 29 months. website at: Maintaining health care www.gatransplant.org coverage in the face of for applications and more transplantation is of utmost importance but often information. times becomes an unaffordable expense. Loss of coverage due to lack of funds has a lasting impact on a patient’s access to health care.
The goal of the Insurance Premium Assistance Program is to provide financial assistance to non-Medicare pre and post transplant patients for the cost of their insurance premiums providing a continuation of medical insurance coverage. All legal permanent residents of Georgia who are solid organ UNOS-listed candidates or recipients not currently receiving Medicare, Medicaid, or having eligibility for other state assistance programs, are eligible to receive help from GTF’s Insurance Premium Assistance Program. In order to apply for assistance, the patient or family must submit a financial application with supporting documents to their transplant center social worker. The application will be reviewed for need as well as planning for an alternative source of insurance. All requests require a solid plan for self-maintained coverage. If approved, notice will be given to the referring social worker. For more information, please visit www.gatransplant.org or ask your transplant center social worker about the different Financial Assistance Programs offered by the Georgia Transplant Foundation.
LIFE AFTER TRANSPLANT M
y name is Jennifer Shaw. I received a liver transplant on Saturday, April 17, 2010, and this is my story.
I was born on March 12, 1995 and when I was 5 days old, I went into a coma. The reason for my coma, although unknown at the time, was that I was born with a rare Urea Cycle Disorder called Citrilinemia. It’s a rare genetic disease located in the liver where you’re missing an enzyme in the liver that keeps you from processing proteins such as meats, beans, nuts, and dairy products. It greatly inhibits the liver’s ability to work properly, and leaves the inflicted susceptible to brain damage or death any time they get a fever or illness. After being diagnosed with Citrilinemia, the doctors put me on a low protein diet, carbohydrates, and vegetables. The doctors also put me on some special formula to keep me alive and to calm my disease down a little bit. The first 5 or 6 years of my life were probably the hardest on me and my parents. With frequent visits to the hospitals, special formula that went in through a G-Tube, low protein diet, and numerous doctor visits. For fifteen years this was my life of constant food monitoring. Yes, for 15 years I dealt with this until we considered a liver transplant. On March 9th and 10th we met with the Liver Specialist Team at my transplant center, and on April 9th I was placed high on the liver transplant list. My PELD/MELD score was a 30. The reason they placed me so high on the list was that if I became very sick, I could go into a coma and suffer from severe brain damage. Just eight days later my life changed. On Saturday, April 17, 2010, I received the call that would change my life 18
forever. It was not just any telephone call; it was the call that a liver had become available and that I was a match. I will never forget what my Dad said, “Let’s get ‘er done!” We had been at Steak and Shake having a midnight meal and my Mom had gone to bed, when my Mom got the call. At that point, we were all awake and very excited. We were scrambling to go to the hospital to get my transplant. We left home to go to the hospital at around 2:30 in the morning and we arrived about thirty minutes later. We waited around all day in the hospital as the doctors conducted more testing. That evening, I fed through my feeding tube for the last time EVER and the first time I ate meat.
Finally, at 7:00 that night I received my liver transplant. The surgery was supposed to take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, but it ended up only taking about three hours. I was only in the ICU for less than a day and back out of the hospital by Friday afternoon - making my total stay in the hospital only six days. Everyone was amazed by the recovery time; God definitely had his hand on this. Since my transplant, I have had many opportunities to give back to the transplant community and to raise awareness about organ donation and transplantation. I was the patient of the month for the Atlanta Dream Team in September 2010. In May 2011, I was privileged to share my story at the Egleston Butterfly Release and released the first butterfly. I’ve also participated in three separate fashion shows fundraisers for transplant-related organizations. One of those fashion shows was hosted by my photographers company called Realm Studios and the money went back to the Georgia Transplant Foundation. In the past year, I have become a volunteer with LifeLink and have been able to encourage others to become organ donors through a health fair in Stone Mountain and speaking at an event for Caring for Carrie. In addition to these, I have been able to attend Camp Independence for three years. It has connected me with other teens and children who are transplant recipients. We have shared our struggles, highs and lows and scars. I’m very thankful for these opportunities. They are constant reminders of how blessed I am to my donor and God for giving me a new liver and a new life. All these
“My scars are a constant reminder of how blessed I am to my donor and God for giving me a new liver and a new life.”
opportunities have made me realize how much I want to work in the realm of organ donation and transplantation alongside the Georgia Transplant Foundation, Donate Life Georgia, and LifeLink. I have teamed up with the Gwinnett Braves to sell tickets to the Sunday, June 12, 2016 game for a “Georgia Transplant Day” where a portion of each ticket I sell will go back to the Georgia Transplant Foundation. Seats are located in the Infield Box Section and cost $19.50 each. If you are interested in supporting GTF through my Community Partner Group event, please visit the GTF website for more details.
GROUPS Community Partner Groups (CPG) have the unique opportunity to work in their own communities by raising funds and awareness for GTF and the various services the Foundation provides. If you are interested in forming a CPG or being a part of an existing one, or for more information, please visit www.gatransplant.org/ get-involved/communitypartner-group or contact Cheryl at (678) 514-1181.
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Imprint Magazine www.GaTransplant.org ©2013 Walgreen Co. All rights reserved. 13SP0002-0113
Help Us Celebrate Life! In the state of Georgia in 2015, there were 888 transplants performed. Of that, 188 were provided by living donors and 274 from deceased donors.
Every ten minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list.
Those in the transplant community often face overwhelming financial needs related to their transplants that are not medical in nature, but have a direct impact on the survival and health of the transplant recipient. Georgia Transplant Foundation (GTF) responds to these needs by offering a holistic approach to assisting the transplant community through unique programs. • I n 2015, GTF provided more than $1.5 million in emergency financial assistance grants to 873 transplant recipients, candidates, living donors, and caregivers in-need. •5 0% of GTF grants are awarded to families living within the metropolitan area and 50% are awarded outside that area within the state of Georgia. •L ast year, more than 730 patients participated in the Mentor Project. 229 seasoned mentors were trained to provide support and guidance to newly diagnosed patients. •3 18 transplant candidates enrolled in the Transplant Fundraising Program to proactively prepare for the cost of post transplant medications. •G TF works with the four transplant centers in Georgia, including: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory Healthcare, Augusta University Health, and Piedmont Hospital.
On average, 22 people die each day while waiting for a transplant.
It is the goal of the Georgia Transplant Foundation to ensure that all candidates and recipients are ready to achieve the following outcomes: •G reater preparedness for transplantation through financial planning and healthcare education. •G reater emotional support pre- and post-transplant through continuing education, positive mentoring and appropriate life-planning. •G reater self-sufficiency post-transplant as a result of receiving appropriate job training and job placement.
1:8 One organ donor can save eight lives. UNOS.org
We are reaching out and encouraging the supporters of our Foundation to help make a difference in the lives of so many who need a life-changing organ transplant. Please consider supporting the Celebrate Life campaign by making a financial donation; you will help more people in Georgia to live longer with transplanted organs and resume healthy productive lives. You can also help by: making a donation in honor or memory of a loved one; contributing stock; hosting a small fundraiser for GTF in your community; becoming a mentor; or by volunteering at the GTF office or an event. To donate to the Georgia Transplant Foundation, please visit: gatransplant.org/get-involved/ giving. Thank you for your continuous support of the Georgia Transplant Foundation and for helping us to Celebrate Life!
The Georgia Transplant Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
For a full list of upcoming educational conferences, special events, and Community Partner Group events, please visit www.gatransplant.org and click on “Happenings.”
TRENDS in TRANSPLANT
ALBANY: june 25 rome: july 23 augusta: august 27 savannah: september 10 atlanta: october 15
MODAS EN TRASPLANTE
SAturday, june 11
wednesday, june 8 tuesday, july 12 wednesday, august 10 tuesday, september 13 wednesday, october 12 wednesday, november 9 tuesday, december 13
Please come and join us for our first all Spanish “Modas En Trasplante” (Trends In Transplant) Conference being held at Our Lady of the Americas in Lilburn. The conference is specifically targeted for the Latino community and will address organ transplant-related topics. For more information, visit: www.gatransplant.org/espanol
As a statewide organization, it is GTF’s goal to offer services to every transplant candidate, recipient, living donor or family member in Georgia. Each year, the program offers new topics specifically of interest to pre- and post-transplant patients. The Conference will offer you a unique chance to develop friendships, an understanding of important health topics related to your transplant, and get a glimpse into the future of transplantation. The Conference is free for transplant candidates, recipients, living donors and one guest. Lunch will be provided. For more information, visit: www.gatransplant.org or call 1-866-428-9411, or e-mail TNT@gatransplant.org
For more information, visit: www.gatransplant.org
jumpstart “roadmap to success” workshop dawgs for kids friday, august 19 Bring in the new football season during the Dawgs for Kids party on the playing field at the new College Football Hall of Fame. You will have the opportunity to enjoy good food and drinks, bid on live and silent auction items, and mingle with the UGA athletes throughout the night. For more information, visit: www.ugakickoff.com
JUNE 1 DEADLINE For more information, visit: www.gatransplant.org 22
A free monthly seminar hosted at GTF’s office in Atlanta to help transplant candidates and recipients create and organize a successful fundraising campaign. To register today, please call 678-514-1170 or send an e-mail to: TFP@gatransplant.org
thursday, july 14 thursday, september 15 Please come and join the JumpStart Program workshops that are uniquely designed for the transplant recipients. These workshops are very informative and interactive, and you go away with preparations plus connections to have a successful job search. This year we have added a hands-on computer training class for instruction on “How to Find Jobs Online.” Limited space is available so registration is required. For more information or to register: call 678-514-1174 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
500 Sugar Mill Road, Ste 170-A, Atlanta, GA 30350 770-457-3796 www.gatransplant.org
FIRST IN GIVING THEM SECOND
©2012 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Inc. All rights reserved.
Children’s is a national leader in pediatric transplants—giving thousands of children and teens the chance to live longer, healthier lives. choa.org/transplant
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