#BlueandGreenWyo pictures on Twitter and Instagram supporting wearing Blue and Green.
Cheyenne, Wyo. (KGWN) (RELEASE) In a robust display of grassroots support, local governments throughout Colorado and Wyoming are declaring April Donate Life Month in their cities. These efforts are in support of the nationwide observance, National Donate Life Month, which honors the generosity of organ, eye and tissue donors and their families and commemorates all transplant recipients in the United States throughout the month of April.
In addition to making the formal proclamations about Donate Life Month, local governments from Pueblo, to Grand Junction, to Casper and in between are activating a variety of awareness-building activities in their communities. These governments are working in tandem with transplant recipients and donor families in their cities and Donor Alliance, the federally designated, non-profit organ procurement organization serving Colorado and most of Wyoming, to raise awareness of the lifesaving message of donation.
“This widespread, localized show of support bears witness to the impact donation and transplantation have locally. Our states also boast some of the highest rates of donation in the country, which is a testament to the generosity of Colorado and Wyoming residents,” said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “Nonetheless, more than 2,400 people in our states are still waiting for lifesaving transplants, so it is critical that we continue to speak out on the importance of the cause. We encourage citizens to look for the Donate Life Month activities in their local communities throughout April, and to consider giving the gift of life by registering as organ, eye and tissue donors.”
The following Donate Life Month proclamations will take/have taken place throughout Colorado:
·Aurora, Colo.: Mayor Steve Hogan will name April “Donate Life Aurora Month” at a proclamation presentation at 11:30 a.m., April 1 at the Aurora Municipal Center. Supporting this city’s activities is Aurora resident Anita Smith, a kidney recipient and Anthony Iheaka, a heart recipient.
·Eagle County, Colo: County Commissioners will name April “Donate Life Eagle County Month” at a proclamation presentation at 11 AM, April 1 at the Eagle County Building. Supporting this county’s activities are Eagle County residents Susan Spiegel, the mother of a donor; Izzy Thompson, the wife of a donor; the Scriver donor family and the Brock donor family from Grand Junction.
·Federal Heights, Colo: The city’s Board of Commissioners will name April “Donate Life Federal Heights Month” at a proclamation presentation at 7 p.m., April 1 at the Federal Heights City Hall Building. Dale Sparks, a recipient husband, donor father and former mayor of Federal Heights, spearheaded this proclamation.
·Grand Junction, Colo: Mayor Sam Susuras will present the “Donate Life Grand Junction Month” proclamation at the City Council meeting at 7 p.m., April 2 at Grand Junction City Hall. Debi Carson Youngerman, who received a lifesaving kidney transplant 25 years ago, will accept the proclamation with a group of donor families, recipients and representatives from Donor Alliance.
·Pueblo, Colo: City Council will name April “Donate Life Pueblo Month” at a proclamation presentation at 7 p.m., April 14 at the Pueblo City Hall. Supporting this city’s activities are Pueblo residents Andrea Propst, who has a daughter on the transplant waiting list; Kenneth Garcia, the husband of a donor and Kiera Katton-Sena, the daughter of a transplant recipient.
·Brighton, Colo: City Commissioners will name April “Donate Life Brighton Month” at a proclamation presentation at 7 p.m., April 15 at the Brighton City Hall Council Chambers. Donor father and recipient husband Dale Sparks supported this city’s activities.
·Northglenn, Colo: City Council named April “Donate Life Northglenn Month” at a proclamation presentation on March 10. Dale Sparks, donor father and recipient husband, supported this city’s activities.
·Westminster, Colo: The City Council named April “Donate Life Westminster Month” at a proclamation presentation on March 24. Supporting this city’s activities were Westminster residents Tiffany Pierce, a liver recipient; Joel Davis, an advocate for the cause and the Thompson donor family.
·Adams County, Colo: Adams County officials declared April “Donate Life Adams County Month” in a ceremony at the Adams County Municipal Building on Tuesday, March 25. Donor father, recipient husband and former major of Federal Heights Dale Sparks facilitated the proclamation request.
·Denver, Colo.: At the request of Denver residents Stephen Johnson, a kidney recipient and Robert Fettner, a heart recipient, Mayor Michael Hancock has proclaimed April as “Donate Life Denver Month.”
·Colorado Springs, Colo.: The City Council has named April “Donate Life Colorado Springs Month.” Supporting this city’s activities are Colorado Springs residents Jon & Lori Driscoll, parents of a donor; Rita McCullough, recipient and wife of a donor and Mark & Gail Gallagher, parents of a donor.
The following Donate Life Month proclamations will take/have taken place throughout Wyoming:
·Powell, Wyo: At the request of Laura Kurtz, a local citizen whose daughter died waiting for a double lung transplant, the Powell City Council will vote on a Donate Life Month proclamation in the City Council Chambers of City Hall on April 7 at 7:00 p.m.
·La Barge, Wyo.: Mayor Larry Stepp declared April “Donate Life LaBarge Month” in a ceremony at the Town Hall on March 19 at the request of donor mother and tissue recipient Trish Studt.
·Casper, Wyo: At the request of local heart recipient Jason Wynia, Mayor Paul Meyer has declared it “Donate Life Casper Month.”
In addition to the government proclamations, communities and businesses around the states are showing their support for the cause of organ, eye and tissue donation during April by flying Donate Life flags, hanging posters and banners, displaying window clings and distributing information to patrons.
Additionally, Friday, April 11th is National Blue & Green Day, a fun element of National Donate Life Month. Locally, Donor Alliance will hold a social media contest for residents, in which they can share photos of themselves wearing blue and green on the Donate Life Colorado and Donate Life Wyoming Facebook pages, or by using the #BlueandGreenColo and #BlueandGreenWyo hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. More information on how to participate and contest rules can be accessed at www.donoralliance.org/ndlm/national-blue-and-green-day-toolkit/.
Communities, governments or businesses interested in joining the Donate Life Month celebration can access a toolkit with helpful materials at http:\www.DonorAlliance.org\ndlm. Donor Alliance asks residents to join the 68 percent of Coloradans and 59 percent of Wyoming citizens who have registered to be organ, eye and tissue donors. For more information about organ and tissue donation, please visit DonorAlliance.org. To register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, please visit DonateLifeColorado.org, DonateLifeWyoming.org or call 303-329-4747 for more information.
One local woman's story is below:
Lucy D. Williamson
"In July 2008 I was diagnosed with cirrhosis and ascites. For my entire life I had been extremely healthy and fit – no surgeries, no chronic conditions or allergies, no regular medications – I barely took an aspirin for a headache! This diagnosis was a real blow to my family, friends and to me.
My doctor referred me to the University of Colorado Hospital for evaluation as a liver transplant candidate. In our first meeting with my hepatologist she told us that persons with ascites have a 50% mortality rate within two years. Talk about another blow! She refined the diagnosis to cryptogenic cirrhosis – meaning we don’t know what caused it, and we can only move forward now.
In October 2008 I went through the two-day evaluation at University Hospital; I was accepted as a liver transplant candidate and placed on the waiting list. And that was my life for the next 10 months – waiting, and becoming progressively more ill. I had weekly visits to the Cheyenne hospital for IV infusions to keep fluids from building in my body, and to strengthen my blood. But I had to be careful constantly of no injuries, no falls, limited exposure to infections, colds and flu.
I continued to work full time as the director of a private non-profit health care administrative agency in Cheyenne, supervising a staff of almost 20, coordinating programs, etc. I curtailed my travel because I did not want to be far from Denver in case I got “the call.”
On August 13, 2009 I received The Call. The hospital had a donor for me – a young male, healthy and a match for my blood and size. My emotions were like nothing I had ever experienced – grief, joy, disbelief and relief. My husband and I were on the road within an hour of the call. Surgery was done on August 14, 2009. I stayed in the hospital for two weeks and in a local hotel for another 4 weeks. After about 6 weeks I returned home, back to work part time, and within a month I was back full time.
My new life is a miracle and a blessing (not to mention modern medicine) for me, my family, friends, colleagues and the lives I affect through my work. I will never be able to express clearly my deep gratitude to the donor family – their grief and sorrow transformed our lives.
The impact of a donor on my life has a huge ripple effect. The quality of life of friends and family improved as I recovered. I’m able to continue to contribute, to lead a productive life, and to share.
I’ve always been an advocate of organ and tissue donation and now have an opportunity to tell a first hand story of the importance of this gift. Had it not been for that family, I would not be here today - the surgeon said I had only a few weeks of life left. My thanks will always go to the donor family for their wisdom, generosity and caring."