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    • St. Luke’s University Health Network Partners With Gift of Life Donation Program

St. Luke’s University Health Network Partners With Gift of Life Donation Program

St. Luke’s University Health Network Partners With Gift of Life Donation Program

Gift Of Life 

 

Easton residents (l-r) Adolfo and Debbie Flores
with liver recipient Kevin Geklinsky were connected
during a difficult time for the Flores family in 2011 when
they had to make a decision about organ donation.
The three were recently reunited for a presentation by
Gift of Life Donor Program to honor St. Luke’s
University  Health Network for its 100 percent
donation rate from January 1, 2013 to April, 2014.

Bethlehem, PA. (4/30/2014) –  Debbie and Adolfo Flores of Easton were not prepared to make a decision to donate their 20 year old son’s organs. 

After all, Austin was in college, studying to be a pharmacist, helping people in the community and teasing his younger sisters about their clothes and makeup.  No one expected him to be involved in a serious car crash that put him in a coma at St. Luke’s University Hospital – Bethlehem at the end of November, 2011.  During his stay, St. Luke’s clinicians determined that Austin would not survive his injuries. By December 4, 2011, he was gone.  The Flores family decided that their young son would have wanted to continue to make a difference in other people’s lives and chose organ donation.

“Austin lives on in others,” said his mom Debbie.  “His donation has helped other people see!  There is nothing more beautiful than the gift of sight.” 

While in the hospital dealing with their shared shock and grief over their son’s death, Debbie and Adolfo spoke with Gift of Life Donor Organization and Kevin Geklinsky, a liver recipient also from Easton. 

When Kevin was twelve, he developed pancreatitis and was diagnosed after a liver biopsy with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an untreatable liver disease.  He and his parents were told that at some point he would require a liver transplant to live.  In 2009 at the age of 22, he noticed his eyes had yellowed nearly overnight, and he knew he was in liver failure.  He was rushed to Philadelphia and placed on a transplant list.  Over the next year, Kevin was in and out of the hospital while waiting for a liver to become available. 

He describes that year as hellish, as he “watched my family watch me die.”  He had lost nearly 60 pounds and his skin was tinted yellow.

On May 26, 2010, he received a life-saving liver transplant.  Now 27, he and his family celebrate his “birthday” on May 26  - the anniversary of the day he received his second chance and not on his actual July birth date. 

“I saw my younger sister graduate from high school and college and go off to law school,” Kevin said.  “There was a point where I didn’t really have hope to see those events or have hope that I could plan for my own future.” Now, Kevin knows he has a future, with perhaps a family of his own.  “I am living proof that organ donation works,” he said.

"Gift of Life works closely with our hospital partners to help create the opportunity for meaningful donation, out of what is often a difficult, stressful situation for our donor families,” says Gift of Life President and CEO, Howard M. Nathan. “Knowing the importance of these gifts helps our healthcare partners to be dual advocates for both our donor families and transplant recipients.”

St. Luke’s University Health Network has been nationally recognized for its commitment to organ donation,” said Carol Kuplen, Chief Operating Officer, St. Luke’s University Hospital- Bethlehem and Chief Nursing Officer, St. Luke’s University Health Network. “Our physicians and staff recognize the essential service provided by Gift of Life and the teams who practice in the field of transplantation. Playing a role in this wonderful process is both an honor and privilege.”

Gift of Life recently recognized St. Luke’s University Health Network with its donation rate of 100 percent from January 1, 2013 to April 22, 2014.


Gift Of Life













 


Organ donation takes a team of professionals to make it happen. Pictured are St. Luke’s physicians and clinicians, organ donor family, organ recipient and Gift of Life representatives.







The need is for organ donation is real, according to Gift of Life. Each day, 79 Americans receive life-saving organ transplants and thousands more benefit from cornea and tissue transplants. These extraordinary gifts have been generously donated by ordinary people of all ages and backgrounds who took just a few minutes in a busy day to indicate their decisions to become organ and tissue donors. But broader awareness of the need for organ, eye and tissue donation is crucial. There are more than 121,000 people awaiting an organ transplant in the United States and each week, more than 100 people on the national transplant waiting list die because no organ is available.

Here are some additional facts about organ, eye and tissue donation:

  • One organ donor can save as many as eight lives and improve many more through eye and tissue donation.
  • Organ transplants have been successfully saving lives for more than 50 years.
  • Cornea transplants have been successfully restoring sight for more than 100 years.
  • Donated tissues such as skin, bone and heart valves can dramatically improve the quality of life for recipients, and even save lives.
  • Anyone can be a potential donor regardless of age, race or medical history.
  • More than 100 million people in the United States have registered their decision to donate.

Give the gift of life. Sign up today to become an organ, eye and tissue donor. Let your family and close friends know of your decision to become a donor.

In Pennsylvania, residents can log directly onto the Department of Transportation web site at www.donatelife-pa.org to sign up as a donor.

New Jersey residents can make their decision known when they renew their driver's licenses.  More information may be obtained on the Donate Life New Jersey Web site, www.donatelifenj.org.


About Gift of Life Donor Program

Gift of Life Donor Program is the non-profit, federally designated organ and tissue transplant network serving the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. For more than 40 years, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 36,000 organ transplants, along with more than an estimated 500,000 tissue transplants. For more information on organ and tissue donation, please call Gift of Life at 1-800-DONORS-1 (1-800-366-6771) or visit at www.donors1.org.


Contact

Denise E. Rader
Director, Network Media Relations
St. Luke's University Health Network
484-526-4104
Denise.Rader@sluhn.org


John Green
Gift of Life
215-557-8090 X1118
jgreen@donors1.org