Erlanger Raises “Donate Life Flag”

Friday, April 4, 2014

Erlanger Health System officials, Tennessee Donor Services and Donate Life representatives and attendees whose lives were changed by organ donation raised the “Donate Life Flag” in front of Erlanger campus Thursday honoring 36 Erlanger patients who saved 145 lives in 2013.  The annual flag raising event recognizes April as National Donate Life Month.

The Donate Life Flags across America program honors the hundreds of thousands of donors, recipients, and their loved ones symbolizing the uncountable lives touched by organ, eye and tissue donation. Organizers also hope the recognition will motivate other people to consider the benefits of organ donation and join the Donate Life Tennessee Donor Registry.

“We are pleased to join together with our hospital partners to honor those who provided the unselfish gift of life to others through donation,” said Bridgette Fredenberg, Community Services director for Tennessee Donor Services.

“One person can save or enhance the lives of over 50 individuals. Through education on organ and tissue donation, we have the opportunity to save more lives through transplantation.”

When Lynn Johnson was tested to donate a kidney to his mother for polycystic kidney disease, tests revealed he had the same disease.  For approximately 20 years he lived with the disease until his kidney function began to decline.  In January 2013, Mr. Johnson received a kidney transplant at Erlanger that has given him a new lease on life. 

“As of today, all I know is the donor was a male, 28 years old and worked as a welder,” said Mr. Johnson.  “However, I know in my heart he was a wonderful person who made an important decision with his family when he registered as a donor.  He gave me a second chance at life.”

The local organ recipient looks to the future with a more positive outlook and has returned to many of the activities he enjoyed before his health began to decline. 

In 2013, 421 Tennesseans gave the gift of life, saving 796 lives. Tragically, the need far exceeds the number of those who give.  While most Americans are in favor of donation, many believe they are too old or unhealthy to donate, and others simply don’t take the steps required to sign up.  Almost everyone can be a donor.  There is no age limit to organ donation and very few diseases preclude donation.   Currently in the United States, more than 120,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, over 2,600 of those live in Tennessee.  Every 18 minutes a patient on the waiting list will die, and every 10 minutes a new name will be added.

In 2001, 25-year-old Kevin Yates passed away from traumatic injuries he received from an incident involving a drunk driver.  A few years prior to the accident, he spoke to his mother, Tiki Finlayson, about his choice to become an organ donor. At the time of Mr. Yates' death, his family members knew what had to be done. Hiss organ donation saved four other lives through liver, kidneys, pancreas and heart transplants. 

At Thursday’s ceremony, Ms. Finlayson said, “I want to encourage people to make that choice to be an organ donor.” Mr Yates' story is a true testament that it is not only important to make that choice, but to also express that decision with family members so they will know what your wishes are. 

“Organ donation is an integral part of Erlanger’s mission to patients, family members and the community,” said Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, president and CEO of Erlanger Health System.  “As the region’s only Level One trauma center, Erlanger is also one of the most active hospital systems for organ harvest.  We have such an unbelievable team of specialists from nurses and physicians at our Kidney Transplant Center, who take transplantation to the next level, to partnerships with other agencies such as Donate Life and Tennessee Donor Services.  The agencies provide Erlanger and the community with resources for education, awareness and the opportunity to save more lives.  Today’s event is Erlanger’s way of encouraging the community to embrace life and make the choice to become an organ donor to give the gift of life.” 

As of March 2014, over 1,890,000 Tennesseans have signed up on the Donate Life Tennessee Organ & Tissue Donor Registry either online or through the Department of Safety.  On average nearly 3,500 people are added each week. While the rate falls far short of the nationwide goal to register 50% of each state’s licensed drivers, Tennessee’s registry is growing quickly. Tennesseans can register to be organ donors by simply checking YES when applying for or renewing their driver’s license.  A small red heart is placed on the driver license.  Residents can also sign up online by visiting www.donatelifetn.org.


Pratt Home Builders To Host Ironman Training Event

Pratt Home Builders will host 4 Ironman training events for the twelve athletes who will be participating as Emily’s Power for a Cure Team in the 2015 Chattanooga Ironman competition scheduled for September 27. The first event will be Sunday, March 8 starting at 2:30 p.m.  Andy Sweet, a trainer at HUB Endurance, has set this challenge as a 3 mile pace training event. Each ... (click for more)

CHI Memorial To Host "Cancer Care, Today" Conference

CHI Memorial will host “Cancer Care, Today” to help educate the community about treatment advances, forward-thinking nutrition and emotional support, and access to specialists at CHI Memorial’s Rees Skillern Cancer Institute. Question and answer sessions will be open after each presentation. A light breakfast is provided. “Cancer Care, Today” is free for all attendees. The ... (click for more)

Woman Stabbed By Husband In Dalton Dies From Her Wounds

A woman who Dalton Police say was stabbed Thursday by her husband has died of her injuries.   Glenda Dyer had been transported to Hamilton Medical Center. She initially was listed in stable condition.   The incident happened at the couple's home at 1603 Elaine Way.   Police said a murder charge will be added to the counts already facing ... (click for more)

Signal Council, Residents Concerned About Unsafe Driving En Route To Schools

The town council of Signal Mountain is dealing with a traffic problem caused by increased traffic to and from Signal Mountain Middle High School and Nolan Elementary. Mayor Dick Gee said, “This is a tough issue that we wouldn’t have to deal with if everyone would drive responsibly.” The main concern is for safety and in November the council agreed to try to fix the problem by ... (click for more)

Net Neutrality: The Beginning Of The End Or Just A New Beginning?

“The Internet is simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field,” says Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, “Today’s order is more powerful and more expansive than any previously suggested.”  The FCC’s vote for so-called Net Neutrality purports to allow the agency to regulate the Internet as a public utility.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden On March 1

As I try to do at the beginning of each month, I stroll through my garden to see the good and the bad. This morning there is still a solid covering of snow but, as usual, there is still a lot to see. March is historically known for “coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb” so let’s see who gets what: A LAMB to the fact 90-year-old Floyd Hartwig of Easton, Calif., and his ... (click for more)