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Flag-raising event highlights organ donation awareness

May. 7, 2015, 10:24 AM

Vanderbilt University Medical Center held its sixth annual Donate Life Flag-Raising Ceremony on Thursday, April 30.

The event, part of a national effort to raise awareness about the need for organ, tissue and eye donations, celebrates donors, recipients and the medical personnel who care for them.

Becky Holman, here with C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., was the guest speaker at last week’s Donate Life Flag Raising Ceremony to raise awareness about the need for organ donation. She spoke of her son, Caleb, whose organs were donated to help others following his death three years ago. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Currently, there are nearly 126,000 people in the United States who are waiting for an organ transplant. Of those waiting, 2,700 are Tennesseans. Every 10 minutes someone is added to the national transplant waiting list, while 18 patients die due to the shortage of donated organs across the country.

Vanderbilt Transplant Center highlights include:

• In 2014, there were 427 transplants performed.

• There are 1,399 patients on the waiting list at VUMC.

• Last year, 243 life-saving gifts were made possible because of the generosity of 73 individuals.

Under ideal conditions, one organ donor can save the lives of eight people (heart, liver, pancreas, two lungs, two kidneys and small intestine), and enhance the lives of up to 50 others through the donation of bone and tissue.

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