April proclaimed "Donate Life Month"

Posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kenai Mayor Pat Porter read and presented an official proclamation to Michael French and Duane Bannock of the Life Alaska Donor board of directors, officially making April Donate Life Month in Kenai. Donate Life Month is a national initiative held throughout the month to heighten awareness of organ, eye, and tissue donation and encourage everyone to register their wishes. In reading the proclamation Porter said, "Many Alaskan citizens have given the gift of life by donating transplantable organs and tissues, this is one of the most meaningful gifts that a human being can bestow to another. It is essential that all citizens are aware of the opportunity to save and enhance the lives of others through organ and tissue donation and transplantation, and realize that one person's donation can save or enhance the lives of up to 50 people."

Bonnie Nichols, Marketing Director at CPH, donated her late husband Brent's body for organ/tissue transplant after his fatal heart attack on the North Slope in 1996. From that donation, a man in California received the gift of sight from his corneas, a man in Texas received a heart valve and a six month old baby received the gift of life from an artery transplant. Nichols wrote a song the following year titled, "New Beginning" to describe the experience. CPH will fly the Donate Life flag for the month of April to heighten awareness about organ, eye and tissue donation and encourage everyone to register their wishes. The ceremony to raise the flag will happen on Friday, April 3rd at 8:00 am outside the Mountain Tower. The Eckerman family, Broyles and Nichols will participate in the flag raising ceremony along with CEO, Ryan Smith and CNO, Andie Posey. Everyone is welcome to attend according to Nichols and everyone can Donate Life by going to the Alaska registry at www.AlaskaDonorRegistry.org.

There is a critical need for donated organs. Currently, more than 100,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list. Approximately 160 of those individuals live right here in Alaska. Unfortunately, 18 people die each day waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. "It is imperative that we all take action now to give more people a second chance at life. Last year, more than 25,000 lives were saved through donation and transplantation. Even more lives were enhanced through tissue donation. But more needs to be done. In 2007, CPH employee Keith Eckerman and his wife Michelle were faced with the sudden onset of a serious illness in their 13-year-old son Jacob. Jacob ended up needing a liver transplant and was saved by the generosity of another person who believed in organ/tissue donation," said Nichols.

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