Thursday, January 14, 2010

2000th Liver Transplant Celebration

Today was such a busy day and it was all about transplants.  Thursday is support group day which is always nice but we had two more events in this day as well.

So this morning I head off to support group at 11am.  We had a giant crowd today.  I think there were almost 40 people.  Then after group about half of us went to lunch at the cafe in Mayo.  Next up at 1pm was the Celebration event and at 6pm was our potluck.  I ran home in between the celebration event and the potluck to make two meatloaves to take to the dinner.

The Jacksonville, FL Mayo Clinic recently celebrated their 2000th liver transplant.  The liver transplant program began at the Jacksonville location in 1998 and has become one of the leading transplant hospitals in the United States.   Mamma Mayo as so many of us call her, has performed over 3100 organ transplants that include heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas.  As you can see, the Jacksonville location has done a majority of liver transplants.

The 2000th liver transplant was an eagerly awaited number and the 2000th Celebration that we had today was truly heart warming.  The 2000th recipient was interviewed as well as several other transplant patients, doctors, nurses and staff and shown as a little 20 minute movie.  A few hundred people came for the celebration.  It is always so incredible to see so many lives changed for the better.  It was also amazing to me how many of those people I have met over the years.  It gets to me.  Makes tears well up in my eyes.  All of these people may not have been with us if it wasn't for Mamma Mayo.


Then this evening we had our usual second Thursday of the month potluck, but added into that we had a special little graduation with the Friends for Life organization.
Friends for Life is a volunteer organization in Northeast Florida that combines the mission of four organizations into one message, Donate Life. Our volunteers know first hand the importance of organ donation.  Many are organ recipients, their caregivers and family members, living donors or members of a donor's family.

Friends for Life supplies education, educational materials, resources and supplies to help get the word out about organ donation.   Tonight was the graduation ceremony for those people who went through one or more of the classes from last year.  So our pot luck was not just liver transplant friends and family but heart, lung, liver, kidney and Friends for Life volunteers. 


I got a certificate tonight, which was totally unexpected.  I had been unable to complete all of the classes, but that's right, I did attend one class early last year.  So I got to graduate.

I wish college was like that.  I'm 16 credits shy of a bachelors degree.  May I graduate anyway??

That's what I did today.

I chatted and talked and listened and clapped and took some pictures and ate great food and talked and chatted and laughed and cried a little. 

What a great day.

I cannot end a post on organ transplant without saying --- Please make sure that your family knows your organ donation wishes, as they are the ones to make that final decision. 

Have a fabulous day!


jb said...

I have been an organ donor since I got my first drivers license in 1981...I am proud to have that heart symbol on my id! Amazing post today!<3 Bob

Ruth Ann said...

That's soo amazing! I wish I was there to celebrate! I didn't know there was a Mayo Clinic in Florida. I've only been by the one in Rochester MN. Anyway, I thought you had a bachelors degree. You're sooooo close to you think you ever will? You could finish in a semester or two! You can do it! I loved college, I wish I could come down to Florida and finish it for you!

jennifer said...

My family knows and my license is marked. What a wonderful celebration and how cool that you got to be a part of it.

Just Breathe said...

I have been a donor on my license for a very long time. My family knows. I am a believer in something that someone once told me at my church, this is our earth suit. I know that many people, like my kids, think that if you take my eyes I won't see in heaven and I don't believe that. I've tried to explain to my kids that if I needed a transplant to save my life wouldn't you want someone to donate one to me so I could live? Of course they would but they still don't want to give theirs away. They are 28 & 30 and it pisses me off that they could be so shallow. But I will keep trying to put that dot on their license! Okay, I will step down off my soapbox.

Anonymous said...

K - ever since I've had a chance to get to know you so much better, I've been thinking about becoming a donor but I'm scared .. i don't know why though. I loved this post. Everything you do for the "transplant" community just inspires me to achieve some of that greatness myself. why am i scared? i can't figure it out.

Kirby3131 said...

JB - I know you do. I actually think that we had an organ donation conversation the first week we met.

Ruth Ann - I'm actually two years shy of my bachelors degree as I need two years of a foreign language. I tried a hundred ways from Sunday to get the language conquered, but I couldn't pass. I have an Associates of Arts degree and for that I'm very proud.

Jennifer - I love being a part of that community. We even got a chance to do the Hokey Pokey at our graduation celebration. Now how often does that come up in our daily lives! lol

Just Breathe - It truly is a matter of education and some people do not want to donate. That is OK. I do believe though, that with the correct information about the process, a lot of people can make a more informed decision.

Lori - You, my dear, are one of the people that just need information. You need to know the process before you can really make a decision. You are not alone in being scared, that's why Friends for Life is so involved with training people to give out the proper information. I'm sure that there is an organization in Michigan that does the same thing. I hope that my blog helps gets the information out and helps people make more informed decision.

Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...

What a beautiufl, magical celebration of life!!!!!! I LOVE this!