Saturday, February 24, 2007

"The Gift of Life" & Tennessee Masons...

As some of you know, I`m a Heart-Transplant. I was transplanted on August 17, 1994 at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville Tennessee, Vanderbilt`s 189th. Heart-Transplant. I was given a second chance at life. I have tried to be an Organ/Donor advocate ! I am the Director for the Organ/Donor Awareness program for my fraternity, "The Masons" of Tennessee. We have given away to this point some 12,000 Donor Awareness "Green Ribbon Pins"! It is/was our/my way of paying back for my second chance at life. We adopted a slogan, "Give The Gift of Life, Be an Organ/Tissue Donor, It`s the Masonic Thing to Do" I believe we had and an impact, and helped in this humanitarian and loving endeavor. It is/was and awareness program. We wear our green ribbon along with our square & compass ! Tennessee was the first state to adopt the organ/donor program, masonically speaking, in the United States, however we were not the last. There are now several states doing the same program. The following article, I received today. I will add it in it`s entirety.

Tennessee Donor Service Reports 20% Increase in Organ Donation In 2006 !

Knoxville, TN (Feb.12, 2007) TDS..., The federally designation organ recovery agency for 84 counties in Tennessee, reports 2006 as a breakthrough year for organ donation within the agency`s service area. From January through December 2006, TDS recovered organs from 202 donors, a 20% increase over 2005. Because of those donors and their families, 674 organs were transplanted, an increase of 22% over 2005. Also in 2006 668 people became tissue donors, a a 30% increase over 2005. Donors gave corneas to restore site, and tissues such as heart valves to replace damaged ones, bone and ligament to repair dieseased joints and skin for burn patients. TDS distributed 4,688 types tissue allografts to Tennessee hospitals last year-gifts that will restore quality of life to thousands. In the U.S. , 94,800 people are now on the waiting list for life-saving organ transplants. The latest full year figures confirmed by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation network(OPTN) report that in 2005 , the anatomical gifts from 14,489 living and deceased donors provided organs for 28,110 transplants. However, 6,342 persons died waiting for transplants. Right now in Tennessee, 1887 people are on the waiting list, 1,663 of them waiting kidneys. Ultimately though, lives are saved by generous people who have known their decision to donate, and the courage for grieving families who choose the selfless act of donation for their loved ones, in 2005 and 2006, TDS had consent rates of 57% and 56%, respectively. Consent rates shows the percentage of the time that families, when the deceased loved ones meets medical criteria necessary to be a donor, say yes to donation. In May 06, the General Assembly passed into law the Tennessee Organ and Tissue Donor Registry Act, hailed as one of the most important developements for organ donation in the states history ! The registry will provide a statewide database of Tennesseans who register as organ and tissue donors, either on-line at the registry web-site, or through the drivers license application process at any department of safety licensing station. Other states that have already instituted registries have seen donation rates increase by as much as 60%. Tennessee`s registry is now under construction, and should be available by mid-year. We expect Tennessee`s donor registry to significantly increase the exciting progress in donation rates. For now, TDS encourages every Tennessean to sign the donor card on the back of their drivers license and tell your family about your decision to be and Organ/Tissue Donor !
"The Gift of Life" What a Loving Thing to Do !

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