Happy Donate Life Month!
In celebration of National Donate Life Month, our friends who are producing the “The Power Of Two Film” are announcing a new app for iPads: The Daily Gift iPad application. This app is the first iPad app focused on sharing organ donation and transplantation stories and inspiring people to become organ donors. The Daily Gift is available to download for free at http://iTunes.com/apps/thedailygift/.
“The Power Of Two Film” is a multimedia project that uses powerful storytelling to engage communities in critical discussions around organ donation and transplantation, and awareness of cystic fibrosis and other chronic illnesses.
The project is centered around the feature documentary of the same, which offers an intimate portrayal of the bond between half-Japanese twin sisters Anabel Stenzel and Isabel Stenzel Byrnes, their lifelong battle with CF, survival through miraculous double lung transplants, and improbable emergence as authors, athletes and global advocates for organ donation.
Alongside production of the film, the “The Power Of Two” crew recorded VideoGrams — short testimonials reflecting on the power of organ donation. Throughout National Donate Life Month in April 2011, “The Daily Gift” will feature 30 VideoGrams, one premiering each day, and will also provide interactive information about organ donation and transplantation, and empower users to register as organ donors.
Pleased see our new trailer:
And our updated website at www.ThePowerOfTwoMovie.com.
For more information, contact the producers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to circulate this to spread the message of organ donation.
Thomas J. Starr, CEO, Founder
Miracles for Life
This is the way it usually happens. I enter a classroom full of students waiting for their next instructor to arrive. Most are standing, the students arraigned in little groups, speaking and laughing with each other, enjoying the breather between classes. Then one of the students sees me enter the room and snaps to attention as he or she yells out, “Instructor in the room!” With that, all talking stops, and the other students spin or rise and snap to attention as if they were one. The snap is quite audible and almost sounds painful. I then say, “Good morning,” and again in perfect unison I am greeted with “Good morning, Sir!” in reply. The first time this happened, I turned my back to prepare for the class and noticed that the students were still standing at attention. I realized they were waiting for me so I said, with my own professional precision, “At ease or whatever I’m supposed to say so you can sit and relax,” and with that, they did. Man, I could get used to this! I certainly don’t get treatment like this at home!
By now, I’m certain, you’ve realized these are not your run of the mill students nor am I teaching at just some ordinary school or university. These “students” are actually Cadets at the Suffolk County Police Academy in Hauppauge, Long Island, New York, and it is my privilege to be able to stand before them and teach them about organ and tissue donation and how, as first responders, they are the first link in the chain that is the miracle of saving lives through donation and transplantation. This past April 19th was my latest stint at the Academy.
This all started about five or six years ago when Rich Mullane, a Suffolk County police officer himself, who, at the time, was a fellow board member of Transplant Speakers International, invited me to join him in teaching the Cadets. Richie’s son had died in a tragic gun accident and his tissue donation of skin saved the lives of several firemen who would have died otherwise. Because Rich was out of town when the accident happened and couldn’t tell the hospital staff that his son was a donor, combined with a bizarre set of circumstances that we won’t go into here, his last wish of being an organ donor went unfulfilled. At least he was still able to save those firefighters, and I’m sure, as we all would agree, that was no small thing.
Two groups of Cadets go through the Academy each year and TSI trains both groups, each broken into two classes – which makes four classes a year. Each class holds between forty to sixty Cadets. Richie and I did the course together until he was hurt on the job and was no longer able to do it. Since then, twice a year I get a call from Police Officer Laura Rusnak to invite me to the Academy. I look forward to her calls and the opportunity it presents.
When I said earlier that it was a privilege to be in front of these Cadets, I meant it. What an awesome group of people they are! When it comes to teaching in a school environment I have taught nurses in hospitals for Continuing Education and in classes at nursing schools. At teaching hospitals I have taught Fellows and interns alike, sometimes several hundred at a time. I have taught all sorts of different groups in all sorts of different school venues and I honestly have to say that the Cadets are easily my favorite.
Why? First of all, when asked who in the class is already a registered donor, of all the different groups, it’s the Cadets who raise the most hands. Secondly, they are truly engaged and during the Q&A, not only do they ask the most questions, often their questions are the most thoughtful. Throughout the presentation they take notes and again, those notes are reflected in the quality of their questions. These are people who want to serve, many are ex-military, and they are eager to find another way in which to serve. Lastly, at the end of each class I get swarmed by those Cadets who want to register to become donors. As already stated, they are an awesome group.
Suffolk County Police want to make sure that no one goes to an Emergency Room as a Jane or John Doe, without their ID that might serve to inform hospital staff that they wish to be a donor if that unfortunate circumstance should arrive. Suffolk County Police have a great record in this regard and bring TSI in to drive the point home to each new class of Cadets and improve on their already impressive record.
Of course, the materials I bring to the Cadets are obtained through the local OPO, in this case New York Organ Donor Network, (NYODN). As TSI always teaches, go to your local OPO for support materials, and for the answers to any questions you may not know. They are always as helpful as they can be.
Once the Cadets understand the importance of making sure ID always accompanies the victim to the hospital and the fact that they are the first link in the chain that is the miracle of donation, they take it, pun not intended, to heart. What they don’t realize is what they do for me – how it is they that let me honor my donor by giving me the privilege of being able to speak with them.
I have to admit that it’s pretty cool when the cadets snap to attention at my entrance or that they always answer me with a “Yes Sir” or “No Sir.” The second time I taught the Cadets on my own I admitted this to them and asked if there was any way that they could teach this kind of behavior to my wife. From the back of the room came the mournful reply. “Tried it, Sir. It doesn’t work, Sir.” Darn. I could have gotten used to that.
by, Steven G. Taibbi
It was about four years ago when Loretta Borrows, who was on the transplant waiting list for a kidney and pancreas and a student at Bergen Community College, came up with the idea to have an Organ Donation Awareness Day at the college. Professor Barbara Davis of the Department of Biology and Horticulture spearheaded the program and with the help of professors Tom Betsy and Mary Flannery guided it through its several successful years.
This year Bergen Community College honored The New Jersey Sharing Network for all of their outstanding work in every facet of organ and tissue transplantation in the state. Professor Tom Betsy who excelled as an emcee for the program started off by introducing Elisse Glennon, Executive Director of The Sharing Network Foundation, as the keynote speaker. Elisse sent the captivated audience a strong message on the importance of organ and tissue donation and explained The Sharing Network’s role in promoting the cause. She left the audience in awe and yearning for more information.
That’s when Professor Tom Betsy picked up the microphone and began introducing a panel of organ donor families and organ recipients. Jack Locicero and Frank Bodino of TSI were invited on this panel. Joining them was Loretta Borrows who was the founder of the program, as well as Robert Manzi, MD, adjunct faculty member of BCC who received a kidney from his wife. The panel also included Jessica Melore of The Sharing Network who is also a heart recipient and delivered her usual powerful presentation. Frank McEntee who was a recent TSI Newsletter contributor, Sharing Network Volunteer and a kidney recipient, was once again on the panel and has been since the program’s inception. Debbie Kahn donated a kidney to her dad, Lou Kahn. They both were there to round off a dynamic panel.
Each panel member gave a brief presentation and then answered any questions the audience threw at them. While speaking with Professor Davis, she stated how some students told her how this event affected them. Some related how they openly cried during the presentation and how the personal stories of the panel affected them much more than any stats could ever could.
The audience was full; the presentations were remarkable and the day was a success. We’d like to thank Barbara, Mary and Tom for all their hard work and input as well as Bergen Community College for providing their resources and the venue.
The Sharing Network deserved all the accolades of the day for all they do and we at TSI would also like to congratulate them for all their efforts.
It was the holidays in 2005 and Sarah Tomicich was a young professional excited about her new job in the finance department of a large Denver company. Fun-loving and outgoing, Sarah was happy to offer up her talents for the playful “Stupid Human Tricks” competition at the company’s annual year-end party.
Sarah’s trick was a squirm-inducing move she’d been doing since she was a little girl: rising up on her tip toes, she would rotate her feet until her toes were pointing straight behind her body, with her legs still together. But the trick didn’t go smoothly this time.
“My ankle popped; I thought I broke it,” Sarah said. “The pain was so bad. It was horrible.”
During an initial trip to the doctor, Sarah’s injury was misdiagnosed as a sprain. She went home hoping it would heal on its own. For the next several years Sarah tried to deal with the pain, but her ankle was never the same. The injury began to take a serious toll on her active lifestyle: she could no longer do the things she loved, including skiing and running. She would push herself to play team sports like kickball, but be miserable from the pain for days afterwards.
An eventual trip to an ankle specialist revealed what Sarah already had a suspicion of: her injury was much more serious than a sprain. In fact, the peroneal tendon on the outside of her foot was torn, and worse, a large portion of the cartilage on her ankle joint had torn off. Although her tendon was repaired with a surgery, initial attempts to heal the joint were unsuccessful. Sarah had lost too much cartilage, a tissue the body is incapable of reproducing.
Sarah’s doctor suggested treatment with an autograft, whereby bone and cartilage from her own knee would be transplanted into the injured ankle. As luck would have it, by now Sarah was working for one of the nation’s premier tissue banks, AlloSource. Here she had become aware of the tissue transplantation process. Sarah knew that although frequently used to treat injuries, autografts could lead to other complications: in her case the potential for infection in her healthy knee, a slower recovery from two surgeries and more.
Sarah urged her doctor to consider an allograft transplant, a gift of life from a deceased donor. The decision was made to use one of the newer allografts available thanks to new science: juvenile cartilage. These grafts, bravely donated by the families of donors just one month to 12 years old, had been found to stimulate new cartilage growth when implanted with stem cells.
Following her tissue transplant, Sarah’s results have been miraculous. After a final surgery in December 2010, her doctors found that cartilage is indeed regenerating in Sarah’s ankle.
“It’s fascinating to see this cartilage re-growing,” Sarah said. And she is able to feel the benefits already. “I can ski again and it doesn’t hurt. I’ve started to wear high heels again; I haven’t worn high heels for years! It feels really good.”
Her work at a tissue bank has heightened Sarah’s respect for her second chance at a healthy life: “I have had the opportunity to see it from the perspective that everyone should see it from; I have interacted with donor families and really comprehend that this is a gift of life that somebody else gave to me because they lost their own.”
Sarah also reports a stronger kinship with her colleagues at AlloSource, who work 24/7 to process donated human tissue into allografts used for a host of surgical applications around the country.
“Processing these allografts is tedious and includes a lot of hard work. I’ve been able to thank the techs I work with for what they do every day.”
Being an old New Jersey guy, after my transplant I started volunteering with the Sharing Network of New Jersey. I remember being met with open arms by the whole staff. It was like a second home. The volunteers did everything from quilting to stuffing envelopes to answering phones to speaking in public. Being I’m not much of a quilter I decided to speak. It was just something I did since I was little and thought how hard could this be?
So after about a year of speaking, a group of donor families and recipients with varied backgrounds including me decided to establish a curriculum to help volunteers put their speeches together and formed TSI. Although greeted with much skepticism in the field, Joe Roth, Bill Reitsma, Mara Barlow, Mary Ellen McGlynn and the Sharing Network staff allowed us the first opportunity to train their volunteers. It has been thirteen years now since we’ve been in existence and we will never forget that push we received from the Sharing Network.
They say what goes around comes around. This past month the Sharing Network was honored by Bergen Community College and TSI was invited to the event. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world. So in this edition you’ll find an article depicting this event. We’d like to thank the Sharing Network for all they do in New Jersey and will be forever grateful for what they’ve done for TSI.
Keep your eyes open!!! This month we added a dedicated column revolving solely around tissue donation. It’s called “The Tissue Box. We hope you enjoy it.
I know there are 53 other OPO’s out there whose volunteers feel the same way we feel about the Sharing Network. We thank you all.
With summer just around the corner, you are likely getting out the flip flops and sandals. Proper foot care is very important for anyone with diabetes. But before you bare your feet this summer, let’s talk about proper foot care.
What about my feet?
Neuropathy, one of the long-term complications of diabetes, in simple terms means damage to the nerves. There are many different types of neuropathies. Peripheral neuropathy can cause loss of feeling, pain, burning or tingling in the hands or feet. Think about this…if you step on a tack and don’t have feeling in your feet you may not notice it until you have an infection. This is what may lead to a toe or foot amputation. The best way to prevent neuropathy is to control your blood glucose levels.
Steps to healthy feet:
1. Inspect your feet daily
This means a good look at both your feet; including the top, sides, bottom and between the toes. Be on the lookout for any calluses, blisters, cuts or signs of infection such as redness or swelling. See your doctor or a podiatrist if you have any concerns about your feet.
2. Keep your feet clean and moisturized
Wash and thoroughly dry your feet every day. Check the temperature of the bath or shower with your elbow before stepping in to avoid any burns. Also, it’s important to avoid dry skin to prevent calluses and skin cracks. Use lotion on the top and bottom of the feet but not between the toes where it could create a moist environment for fungus to grow.
3. Wear proper fitting shoes
You know a shoe fits well when there is support and it feels comfortable. Ladies, think about those high-heel shoes.
4. Cut toenails straight across
If toenails are cut at an angle, this could cause an ingrown toenail.
5. Don’t go barefoot
Even at the beach, pool or in your own home, always wear some type of shoes when walking. Closed-toe shoes with a hard protective sole are best. If sunbathing, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your feet.
If you have any concerns, always ask your doctor. I tell my patients to take off their shoes and socks when they go to the doctor as a good reminder for your doctor to do a foot exam. Make good foot care a daily habit for happy healthy feet.
Women who drink a substantial amount of coffee each day may lower their risk for developing a particular type of breast cancer, Swedish researchers say.
Their study linked consumption of five or more cups of coffee a day to a relatively marked reduction in the non-hormone-responsive disease known as ER-negative breast cancer. However, coffee consumption did not appear to lower the risk for developing ER-positive breast cancer, a hormone-responsive estrogen receptor form of the disease.
Daily consumption of coffee may protect against the most aggressive type of breast cancer, ER-negative, said study co-author Dr. Per Hal, a professor in the medical epidemiology and biostatistics department at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
“Now, we don’t have all the details,” he cautioned. “We don’t know, for example, what specific type of coffee we’re talking about here. But what we do know is that the protective effect is quite striking and remains even after adjusting for a lot of other factors that have the potential to play a protective role. And we know that we’re talking about what we could call a relatively normal amount of coffee drinking. Certainly we’re not talking about consuming gigantic amounts of coffee. So, this is a very intriguing finding.”
The study, reported online May 11 in Breast Cancer Research, involved 5,929 Swedish women, aged 50 to 74. About half of the women had breast cancer.
Questionnaires were used to assess behavioral and health characteristics, including smoking and drinking patterns, physical activity routines, family history of breast cancer, hormone therapy protocols, nutritional intake, body mass index, education level and coffee consumption habits. Both tumor status and breast cancer type were also noted.
The principle finding: Drinking coffee appeared to spur a “strong reduction” in risk for ER-negative breast cancer, the researchers wrote. Women who drank five cups of coffee a day had a 33 percent to 57 percent lower risk for ER-negative cancer than did those who drank less than one cup a day.
The study revealed an apparent association between coffee consumption and a reduction in breast cancer risk, but not a cause-and-effect relationship.
And Hal was not eager for consumers to jump to conclusions.
“There are one or two other studies that have pointed in the same direction as ours — but not many, just a few,” he cautioned. “So before I would go to tell my neighbors to start drinking more coffee than they already do, I would like to know what is the biological mechanism at work here. And that’s not yet clear.”
Hal noted that he and his colleagues are now working on a new study to tease out that information.
Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, described the findings as both “interesting” and “provocative,” given that the kind of cancer coffee appears to protect against is one for which there are relatively few effective treatments.
“It is this kind of study that opens the door to improving treatment, as scientists try to uncover what biologic factors in a substance are beneficial, and then attempt to extract these factors and use them to defend against cancers,” Bernik noted. “The goal would be to try and discover what it is in coffee that may be beneficial.”
“The next step is to find out what chemical factors in coffee cause the decreased rate of cancer and then attempt to see if these same chemicals can be used to treat a patient once they are already diagnosed with cancer,” she said.
YIELD: 4 servings
HANDS-ON: 30 MINUTES
TOTAL: 30 MINUTES
COURSE: Main Dishes, Salads
• 1 cup uncooked orzo
• 1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
• 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
• 3 green onions, sliced
• 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
•1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro,
• 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 2 tablespoons light sour cream
• 2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 peeled avocado, cut into 8 wedges
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse; drain well. Place orzo, corn, and next 3 ingredients (through beans) in a large bowl; toss.
2. Combine buttermilk, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle over orzo mixture; toss. Top with avocado; garnish with remaining cilantro and parsley.