National Donate Life Month: Heart transplant… - Wyoming Medical Center

National Donate Life Month: Heart transplant recipient Michael Blonigen raises flag over hospita

By The Rev. Keith Evans Apr 4, 2016

Heart recipient and District Attorney Mike Blonigen poses with members of the hospital's Organ Tissue Donation Team and Donate Life Wyoming on April 1, 2016. April is National Donor Awareness Month.

Wyoming is a giving and charitable state. To be neighborly and help others in need is the cowboy way, right? April is National Donate Life Month and I wanted to share with you some of the great things Wyoming citizens and families do for others.

On Friday, April 1, Wyoming Medical Center again proudly unfurled a Donate Life Wyoming flag to fly over the hospital throughout April. Recent heart transplant recipient and Natrona County District Attorney, Michael Blonigen, was our guest of honor. Mr. Blonigen spoke about the advances of organ tissue transplants as well as his own personal journey and heart transplant experience in Denver last fall. Thank you, Mike, for your time and your words.

When organs and tissues are donated, local residents in need are considered first. Neighbors helping neighbors. If a match isn’t made locally, then the organ tissue folks search for matching recipients farther and farther away.

In 2015, most of our 80-plus Wyoming eye tissue donations stayed in the Wyoming/Colorado area, but we also had recipients across the globe! Eye donations helped visually impaired and blind individuals from California to Cairo, Egypt; Ireland to Honduras; and from the Carolinas to Japan. Wyoming citizens gave previous gifts of sight and new lives to people across our planet. Thank you, Wyoming!

Wyoming Medical Center is also proud to have been awarded Gold Recognition each of the last four years for our efforts on donor education and awareness. The award is given by the Department of Health Human Services and Workplace Partnership for Life. Gary Loghry of Donor Alliance presented the award to the WMC Organ Tissue Donor Team on Friday during our flag-raising ceremony.

Last year, Wyoming Medical Center also had 18 major organs (heart, lungs, kidney, liver, etc.) donated and over 3,000 recipients received allografts (bone, skin and other tissue grafts) from Wyoming citizens who decided to register and give a true gift of life to others. We on the Organ Tissue Donor Team are humbled by the generosity of our patients, their families and our community. Learn more about organ donation services at Wyoming Medical Center here.

The Rev. Keith Evans

Keith Evans is a board-certified staff chaplain at Wyoming Medical Center. Contact him at (307) 577-2417 or kevans@wyomingmedicalcenter.org.