Organ donor pledge event success
New England has gained 1,100 new organ donors, thanks to members of Red Sox Nation who attended a Fenway Park's annual Organ Donor Awareness Night during the Red Sox most recent home stand.
Fans also witnessed a short, but touching ceremony that honored two BIDMC doctors from the medical center's Transplant Institute.
"Signing up to become a donor can benefit up to 10 people, or you can be a living donor, for kidney transplants, for example," said transplant surgeon Kristen Raven, MD, who was called into the operating room an hour before the game to perform a liver transplant.
In a pregame interview with NESN, liver specialist Michael Curry, MD, spoke about the need for organ donors and how signing up helps those in need.
"At any given time, 3,400 people are waiting for a life-saving transplant and every 12 minutes, another person is added to the list across the country," said Curry, who was also honored at the event.
Standing alongside Curry was Bob Odell, a donor liver recipient.
"I was on Dr. Curry's waiting list for about a year after I found out I had liver disease. A wonderful gal from New Hampshire, in her darkest hour, found the strength to give me a present. That's the difference between me being here and not," said Odell, who received his new organ just two days before Christmas in 2010.
As part of Organ Donor Awareness Night, fans entering Fenway Park received a special baseball card with information about organ donation, including an area that can be easily torn away, filled out and placed in a wallet. In the event of an unexpected death, the card serves as a sign of the person's wish to have their organs donated to help others.
"We handed out about 10,000 cards and people really reacted positively. Some even took out their drivers' licenses to show us they were already registered organ donors," said Rhonda Mann, BIDMC's Chief Marketing Officer.
Becoming an organ donor is simple, said Raven. "Inform your friends and family of your wishes and sign up, either through the Registry of Motor Vehicles, online or at the New England Organ Bank," she said. To find more information, visit www.donatelifenewengland.org.