A special supplement to
2015 GOVERNING BOARD Charles P. Andrews, MD, CPI Director of Clinical Research Diagnostics Research Group Lawrence A. Eisenberg President & CEO Central Texas Investment Group Norma Garcia Director of Marketing Legend Healthcare Rehab & Nursing Facility Glenn Halff, MD Transplant Surgeon UTHSC at San Antonio Michael Horton, PharmD Voluntary Health Bruce Mitchell Representing the Public Strasburger Price Oppenheimer Blend
ABOUT US Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA) is celebrating 40 years as the regional organ procurement organization for Central and South Texas, serving more than 6 million people in 56 counties. TOSA is a private, not-for-profit 501(c) (3) and is one of the 58 federally designated organizations of its kind in the United States. Selected as one of San Antonio’s Top Workplaces for the last three years, TOSA was named 2014 Top Workplace Small Business Winner by the San Antonio Express-News. From its inception as South Texas Organ Bank in 1975, TOSA’s primary focus is to facilitate the process of organ donation for families wishing to save lives, as well as the generous individuals who registered to be donors. Gifts from these heroes provide hope to the nearly 124,000 children, women and men on the national waiting list, a list that grows every 10 minutes. We hope you are inspired by the courageous donors, their families and the recipients you will encounter in this supplement. In learning about TOSA’s 40 years in donation, a field that changes lives daily, we believe you will be encouraged to sign up and save lives as a registered organ, eye and tissue donor by visiting www.DonateLifeTexas.org. Thank you for joining us in being dedicated to saving lives.
Jerry Morrisey, PhD Voluntary Health Beverly Purcell-Guerra Representing the Public Vince Speeg, MD, Chair Chair of the Board UTHSC at San Antonio Daniel Stanton Vice President, Transplant Services Texas Transplant Institute Ken Washburn, MD Medical Director UTHSC at San Antonio For more information and resources, please call 1-866-685-0277. A special supplement to SAN ANTONIO WOMAN
1975 Seven physicians created South Texas Organ Bank 1977 First two kidneys recovered 1980 100th transplanted kidney 1981 100th donor 1986 First multiple-organ donor 1987 First lung donor 1990 1,000th organ recovered 1992 1,000th transplantable kidney 1997 First split-liver transplant in Texas 1997 1,000th donor 1998 First recovered small bowel from Waco 2000 New name, Texas Organ Sharing Alliance 2006 Launch of Donate Life Texas State Registry 2010 First hand transplant in Texas 2010 One millionth donor registered 2014 5 million donors registered 2014 Record 500 transplants from 134 donors 2015 Saving lives daily
40 Years of Saving Lives in Central & South Texas Starting with seven physicians in 1975 who had a vision, to using telecommunication to asses a potential donor in 2015, at Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA), formally South Texas Organ Bank, the goal has always been the same: optimize the opportunity to save lives through organ donation. In TOSA’s 40 years, the most dramatic and palpable ways to see how donation has changed is how technology has become vital to saving lives. “We’re adapting to telemedicine and the Internet and it gives us the capability of sending images and video at any time of day. We are being more efficient and make more offers in a short amount of time,” explained Joseph Nespral, TOSA’s senior director of clinical services. “That would have been impossible a few years ago. Back then it was one call at a time.” Likewise, medical technology has made the process of managing donors much smoother. Additional and more precise testing has allowed for a clear understanding of organ function and has aided in identifying any potential transmittable diseases. “Years ago it was a race to get to the OR,” said Nespral, an 18-year veteran with TOSA. “Now we can take a deep breath and stabilize the donor to place organs.” Mike Rosson, a former regional director for TOSA’s Austin office whose experience spans to the first donor in El Paso in 1973, said TOSA’s hospital development staff have made great strides in earning the trust of hospital staff to allow TOSA to fulfill its mission. Hospital development staff are tasked with educating nurses about the need for cooperation in the donation process. “We show up when we said we will and the families will be treated well,” said Rosson. “We gained their confidence – that’s a big deal.” Along with educating hospital staff, public education has normalized the donation conversation. “It took time for that to really take off,” Rosson said, “but it’s been a major contribution.” TOSA’s 40 years of community education have saturated Central and South Texas, making it difficult to find someone who doesn’t know about organ donation. “Forty years ago a lot of people didn’t know what this was about,” said Nespral. “It’s a well-known procedure now and there’s a chance you know someone who has benefited from a transplant.” Both men agree that the creation of Donate Life Texas, the state’s official registry for organ, eye and tissue donors, has been the chief milestone for TOSA. “By far it’s the biggest development that has occurred over the years,” Nespral said. While TOSA’s first registered donor was an out-of-state donor nearly 10 years ago, Nespral remembers it being an exciting time for the organization. Now, with the establishment of Donate Life Texas, TOSA has started to see a shift in activity with registered donors. “We started off slow, but now we’re seeing a constant number of registered donors,” he said. “We have room to grow, which is good.” Donate Life Texas allows donors to make the decision on their own, ensures their wishes are carried out and eases the burden off families. “It’s tremendous,” Rosson said of the registry. “Nothing I did is more challenging than talking to the family; that’s a difficult task. Now we have this widespread acceptance with people on the registry and families not having to make the decision. It’s been huge. It’s becoming the norm.”
For more information and resources, please call 1-866-685-0277. A special supplement to SAN ANTONIO WOMAN
Celebrating the Gift of Life for 16 years Growing up,
I was always the big, healthy kid…one who loved playing sports. But all that changed in what seemed like an instant...it is something that could happen to any one of us. In April of 1998, when I was 28 years old, my fiancee and I flew to Washington DC. She went for a conference and I tagged along for what I thought would be a relaxing vacation. It was there I began to feel the signs of a cold and I ended up spending most of my time in the hotel room. When I got back home, the doctor said I had bronchitis and prescribed antibiotics. I quickly got over my symptoms, but little did I know how the virus damaged my heart. I would soon find out just how much. It was two months later when I began having headaches, then stomach pains. I saw a doctor three times and was told it was stress. It wasn’t until after a trip to the emergency room a few months later when I learned of the real problem. After getting an ultrasound I was moved to the ICU. It was then that the doctor gave me the news that would change my life forever. My heart was enlarged three times the normal size and was pumping at 10 percent the normal capacity. They said if I didn’t get a heart transplant, I would soon die. For six months, at my insistence, I was given the chance to prove the doctor wrong. I began a medicine regimen that seemed to reverse the effects of my condition. But as quickly as I seemed to progress, my downturn was just as quick. I landed back in the ICU with a fatal diagnosis and was told I had about two days to live unless a donor heart was found. That day came on October 23, 1999.
are.” I responded, “I know who you are too, you are my donor’s mother.” She said, “Yes I am, may I ask you a favor? Can I put my ear to your chest?” I quickly realized this sweet woman just wanted to hear her son’s heart beat. I reached my arms around her, holding her to my chest as everyone around us stared in awe of the beautiful moment happening before their very eyes. The moment is captured in my mind forever, as is the love and appreciation I have for my donor’s family.
The time I have now was only made possible because of a selfless man and his family who realized that in death, life could be given to someone else. It is because of this man and his family that I was able to make my fiancee my wife and raise three children. I went back to work within three months of my transplant and try to live life to its fullest every day.
Today in the United States, there are more than 123,000 people on the transplant waiting list; more than 12,000 of them are Texans. An average of 22 people die every day because there are not enough organs to keep them alive. But you, like the man who saved my life, may have the ability to change that.
After exchanging letters with my Donor Family through Texas Organ Sharing Alliance, we had the opportunity to meet. I invited my donor’s family to a ceremony where we dedicated a rose garden to honor donors. An elderly lady approached me and said, “I know who you
You have the power to save eight lives! Register your intentions on the new state registry, www.DonateLifeTexas.org, and tell your family your wishes to become an organ donor. It’s one of the most important conversations you may ever have.
*Lemuel Bradshaw received his heart transplant at Seton Heart Specialty Care and Transplant Center in 1999. He has spent the last 16 years volunteering with Texas Organ Sharing Alliance and now works for the Tissue Center of Central Texas, where he educates the community and clinical personnel on the importance of tissue donation.
For more information and resources, please call 1-866-685-0277. A special supplement to SAN ANTONIO WOMAN
Alma Garza, center, with her Donor Family
Record Number of Patients Save Lives in 2014 Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA) helped 134 individuals offer 500 transplant patients a second chance at life in 2014. These individuals and their families joined a 40-year legacy of Central and South Texas families who have helped restore life for others in their community through organ donation. Thirty-four percent of the 2014 donors chose to give the Gift of Life with the Donate Life Texas registry by signing up online or when they renewed their driver’s license – a 10 percent increase from the year prior, according to TOSA data. In 2013, 119 individuals saved the lives of 436 people awaiting a transplant.
Collin’s father, Bob, echoes that sentiment and was encouraged to see firsthand what the donation meant by meeting one of Collin’s recipients. “You can actually feel and touch and see the impact right in front of you…to know that our son was really a part of their family right in front of us,” Bob said. “It was pretty impactful.” Alma Garza received a liver transplant in early 2014 from a registered donor. Garza had been in the early stages of being placed on the transplant waiting list when she learned from a friend that a local donor family wanted to make a direct donation, a gift offered to a specific recipient, to save her life.
“In 2014 we saw the number of registered donors grow significantly,” states CEO Patrick Giordano. “By registering to be official organ donors with Donate Life Texas, those selfless individuals lifted the burden from their families to make a decision during a time of grief.”
“For it to have been so important (to her to be a donor) means so much to me,” Garza said. “It’s so important that these families do have that talk and register as donors. If more people would have the conversation, then it would reduce the number of deaths. Without this girl I don’t know what God’s second plan would have been.”
One of them was 19-year-old Collin Lovett, who registered to be a donor when he received his driver’s license. His mom, Vicki, recalls a conversation she had with her son after he registered his decision to be a donor.
Since her transplant, Garza has thanked her donor family in person and has become a strong advocate for organ donation.
“It was his choice to register, his decision to donate, and we were proud to honor that decision,” she said.
Nationally, nine out of 10 people support organ donation yet may fail to register as donors and share their wishes with family members.
A Volunteer for Life Paying Tribute to Her Sister’s Memory
“My goal is to make people more aware, so they’re not afraid. Hopefully, they’ll want to be selfless and help anyone they can.”
Mindy’s story started 15 years ago after the loss of her sister Melissa. Melissa suffered primary biliary cirrhosis, a condition that slowly damages liver tissue. While awaiting a life-saving organ, Melissa became too ill to receive the organ transplant and died due to complications from her illness. This unfortunate event led Mindy to volunteer at Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA) to pay tribute to her sister’s legacy. For more than 12 years Mindy Marquez has been an active voice in the community for organ donation. As a TOSA volunteer in Austin, Mindy has been assisting the organization’s efforts to raise awareness on the importance of registering to be an organ donor and how being a registered donor can saves lives. “Fifteen years ago there was a total lack of knowledge of what it entailed to be an organ donor,” Mindy said. “[Melissa] got the ball rolling for me. Everybody has their calling, and I think it’s really important to save people from the same kind of tragedy.”
Today Mindy is focused on debunking the myths and making organ donation a normal discussion point especially within the Hispanic community. More than 40 percent of people waiting on the list for a life-saving transplant are Hispanic. Hispanics are more prone to need a life-saving organ transplant, but are least likely to donate. Over the years Mindy has met many people who have been touched by donation and transplantation. She appreciates the opportunity she’s had to meet those who have received a second chance at life. “It’s a blessing to be able to meet the people who have such an appreciation for life,” Mindy said. In the future, Mindy hopes her efforts will increase the numbers of people who’ve made the decision to save lives. Nationwide, 22 people die each day while waiting for a transplant due to the organ shortage. “If you need it, you get it,” Mindy said. “Because the availability would be there, and the availability will be there by us spreading the word.”
For more information and resources, please call 1-866-685-0277. A special supplement to SAN ANTONIO WOMAN
Key Points about Organ Donation There is a severe shortage of organ donors in this country. 22 PEOPLE DIE EACH DAY because there are NOT ENOUGH organs to transplant
As of May 2015, there are more than 123,400 patients on the national waiting list in need of an organ transplant. 12,000 of them are Texans.
A new name is added to the United Network for Organ Sharing waiting list every 10 minutes.
MORE THAN HALF OF THOSE AWAITING A TRANSPLANT IN THE U.S. ARE
The organ allocation system is blind to wealth, celebrity and social status. Donated organs are placed in recipients based on best medical match and most critical need.
7.4 million Texans are now registered to be life-saving organ donors! Of the 2.3 million people who die in the U.S. every year, less than two percent are eligible to be organ donors. Almost everyone, however, can be a tissue donor.
Transplant success rates increase when organs are matched between members of the same ethnic and racial group. A patient is less likely to reject a kidney if it is donated by an individual who is genetically similar. Therefore, a lack of organs donated by minorities can contribute to death and longer waiting periods for transplants for minorities. • Few people are too old or too young to donate. • Currently there are no age limits for donors. • At the time of your death, medical professionals will determine whether your organs are transplantable. • Organs that can be transplanted are the heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestine.
PERSON CAN SAVE LIVES
There is no major religion in the U.S. that is opposed to organ and tissue donation. In fact, many religions endorse organ and tissue donation as an act of charity.
• Donation does not disfigure the body or prevent an open casket funeral. • Donated organs are removed in a sterile, surgical procedure, similar to open heart surgery, in a hospital operating room by skilled surgeons. • Organ and tissue donation is considered only after all efforts to save the patient’s life have been exhausted and death has been legally declared. • No costs directly related to organ or tissue donation are passed on to the donor’s family or estate.
Register your decision at www.DonateLifeTexas.org and please inform your family of your decision to donate. Texas Organ Sharing Alliance • www.txorgansharing.org • 1-866-685-0277
Turning Tragedy into Triumph: A Mother’s 14-year Journey “For me, educating about organ donation is more than just signing up people to save lives on the Donate Life Texas registry,” she said. “It’s an alert to encourage people to live healthy because it is diseases like diabetes that lead to dialysis and the need for a kidney.”
Norma Garcia is a vibrant woman who wants to inspire others. Any day of the week you may find her rubbing elbows with media’s elite like Univision’s Enrique Acevedo, planning her next big event as a real estate entrepreneur, or sitting on the board as a passionate advocate for organ donation. All of this stems from a mother’s love for her daughter and her mission to save lives. Nearly 14 years ago, Norma suffered the unimaginable – the death of her only daughter, Jasmine. What started as a sunny August day vacationing in Mexico in 2001 took a turn for the worse when Norma and her family were involved in an automobile accident. Lying just a few feet away from her was 13-year-old Jasmine, who had suffered critical injuries. She was transported back to the United States; 12 days later doctors delivered the devastating news; Jasmine was brain dead. It was at that moment a representative from Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA) provided a glimer of hope to allow Jasmine’s legacy to live on through organ donation. Norma and Jasmine’s father agreed. In the midst of tragedy, and Jasmine’s heart and liver saved two lives. “I had a choice to be depressed, sad, or I could make a difference for my family, for my Jasmine,” Norma recalls. Today, Norma celebrates Jasmine’s life and legacy by educating the public about organ, eye and tissue donation as a TOSA Friends for Life volunteer. She encourages other donor families and transplant recipients touched by donation to do the same. “I wasn’t a volunteer at first,” Norma said. “My experience started when TOSA invited me to a quilt ceremony and in 2002 sent us to the U.S. Transplant Games in Florida.”
Memorial Advisory Committee for the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) and assisted in the design of the National Donor Memorial in Richmond, VA. She has shared her compelling story with numerous audiences from donor families at special events such as the Memorial Tree Planting Ceremony, to doctors and medical staff at San Antonio area hospitals, and even authored a book about overcoming tragedy called, My Dear Jasmine, A Story from Tragedy to Triumph.
Norma shares Jasmine’s story with media and considers it a special treat when she can reach out to other minorities who make up over half of the 12,000 Texans waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. In June 2015, she was featured on Univision’s Al Punto con Jorge Ramos to talk about the need for minority donors. Diabetes and hypertension are prevalent among minorities, yet minorities are one-third less likely to donate. Norma believes education is key to making a difference. “We don’t only save one life, we save an entire generation,”she said.
It was volunteer experiences like this that led Norma to realize she had a voice, a story, and Jasmine’s legacy to carry on. And if she could share her experience, it could save lives.
When asked what goals she has in store ahead as a Friends for Life volunteer, she smiled and replied, “Bigger ones!”
From 2002 to present day, Norma’s passion for organ donation awareness has taken her near and far. She served on the National Donor
For information on TOSA’s Friends for Life Volunteer Program, visit www.txorgansharing.org or call (866) 685.0277.
40 YEARS TOGETHER Celebrating Life TISSUE AND EYE BANK PARTNERS San Antonio Eye Bank GenCure The Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas Western Texas Lions Eye Bank Alliance Lone Star Lions Eye Bank Lions Eye Bank of Texas at Baylor College of Medicine
TRANSPLANT CENTERS University Transplant Center CHRISTUS Transplant Institute Texas Transplant Institute St. David’s North Austin Medical Center Seton Heart Specialty Care & Transplant Center South Texas Transplant Center 120+ Hospitals
One organ donor can save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of more than 50 individuals through eye and tissue donation. For 40 years Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA) has strived to optimize every opportunity to save lives. With service to more than 6.2 million people, the organization has found the key to success — collaboration. “We congratulate our friends at Texas Organ Sharing Alliance during their 40th year anniversary,” stated Jim Wagner, Executive Director of San Antonio Eye Bank. “Our close partnership has ensured that donor families are given the utmost opportunity to save and heal lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.” From Waco to the Rio Grande Valley, TOSA has had the privilege to work with a talented array of partners and volunteers that include six transplant centers, six eye and tissue banks and more than 120 hospitals.
“TOSA has been around doing collaborations with tissue banks for years,” said James Glick, Director of GenCure Tissue Center. “The collaboration in recent years has really strengthened. Our goal is the precious gift of donation and maximizing that donation. To be good stewards of the gift and the community.” “Collaboration with partners with whom we share overlapping goals to some extent is a key element in the field,” said Patrick Giordano, TOSA Chief Executive Officer. “Where we all overlap is the sharing of the success we have seen in the effectiveness of the registry. This ranges from organ transplantation to cornea and tissue donation, as well as contributions to medical research fighting diseases such as juvenile diabetes.” Since its launch in 2006, Donate Life Texas has made a significant impact by being the state’s official registry and best way to ensure an individual’s decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor is honored. To date 41 percent of Texans are registered donors. Donate Life Texas has provided a unified call to action, purpose, and brand recognition seen through the collaborative community events, multicultural advisory councils and the amazing stories of our Friends for Life volunteers. “Personally my biggest motivation is when I go to the donor family ceremonies and hear their stories. It’s like a rubber band around your heart and brings everything back why we do what we do,” Glick said. Giordano sums up, “Texas and TOSA’s community deserve a great registry and we are well on our way in this life-saving endeavor. It takes time, talent, resources and determination to make any effort of this magnitude work.” Texans are encouraged to state their decision on the official state registry www.DonateLifeTexas.org.
TOSA Honors our 2014 Gift of Life Donors Wayman W.
Adan Jose G.
J. Max G.
Contact TOSA: • for more information about organ donation or the Donate Life Texas registry • to request a speaker at your church, workplace, school or civic club • to become a volunteer and help raise awareness of organ donation
NORTHERN REGION 7000 North Mopac, Suite 160 Austin, Texas 78731 (512) 459.4848 O (512) 459.7794 F
CENTRAL REGION (HEADQUARTERS) 8122 Datapoint Drive, Suite 200 San Antonio, Texas 78229 (210) 614-7030 O (210) 614-2129 F
SOUTHERN REGION 1400 N. McColl Road, Suite 104A McAllen, Texas 78501 (956) 630-0884 O (956) 687-7185 F Follow us on:
DONATE LIFE TEXAS REGISTRY www.DonateLifeTexas.org
Special insert/overprint for TOSA in San Antonio Woman July/August 2015 issue.