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Concert set to raise organ donation awareness

Apr. 3, 2014, 9:04 AM

As a nurse on the surgical intensive care unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Heather Hart, R.N., BSN, has a rare opportunity to witness the circle of life.

She has been the caregiver for patients who became organ donors as well as those who have received life-saving organ transplants.

“I have been present when a family has said their last goodbyes to a loved one,” Hart said. “And I have worked a shift where I am the first person a patient will see when they open their eyes after a transplant.

“It is truly amazing. This side of medicine isn’t talked about as much or celebrated, but because of these patients, others have a chance to continue living.”

Hart is one of four organizers for Songs for Life, a benefit concert to raise awareness and celebrate organ donation at Vanderbilt as part of National Donate Life Month in April.

The concert is set for Thursday, April 17, at 8 p.m. in Langford Auditorium.

It will follow a songwriter-in-the-round format featuring Emerson Hart, lead singer of multi-platinum band Tonic, Kevin Griffin, singer from double-platinum band Better than Ezra, and Grammy-award winning singer and songwriter David Hodges.

Tickets for Songs for Life are $30 for the general public and $20 for Vanderbilt staff, faculty and students.

Free parking is available at the 25th Avenue Garage on the 11th floor. Shuttles will be available to transport concert-goers to and from the event.

Monies raised from the concert will help build a permanent donor memorial at Vanderbilt, honoring patients who gave the ultimate gift of life through organ donation.

For the calendar year 2013, Vanderbilt had 73 patients donate organs that resulted in 204 life saving gifts.

A reception, sponsored by Avenue Bank, will be held prior to the concert for donor families attending the event as well as Vanderbilt staff who work closely with transplant and donation.

“There is a great need to boost awareness around organ donation,” Hart said. “It is truly remarkable how one person’s donation can impact others. We want to celebrate these patients, their families and their gifts.”

Hart was joined by Teresa Hobt-Bingham, MSN, R.N., manager, Trauma Patient Care Center, Tanika Wilson, MSN, R.N., manager, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and Emily Walters, Tennessee Donor Services hospital services liaison, in planning the concert.

Go here to purchase tickets to the show or to make a donation for the donor memorial.

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