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Rockford, Ill. — SwedishAmerican held a moment of silence and a flag-raising ceremony outside the Heart Hospital to recognize organ donation and honor families of donors Tuesday.
The month of April is dedicated to encouraging Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrating those who have saved lives through the gift of donation. Tuesday’s event at SwedishAmerican was part of the Pause to Give Life initiative, which originated three years ago in Wisconsin.
Tuesday’s ceremony took place at 10:08 a.m. to represent that one donor can save up to eight lives. The moment of silence lasted 1 minute, 7 seconds, signifying the hope that is needed for the 107,000 people on that national wait list.
“Of the those patients on the waitlist in the United States for a life-saving transplant, nearly 3,900 are right here in Illinois,” said SwedishAmerican President and CEO Tom O’Connor. “This morning, we not only recognize their strength and courage, but we also honor the donors and donor families who have so selfishly given the gift of life and healing through organ, tissue and eye donation.”
Last year in the United States, 40,000 lifesaving organ transplants were performed, 58,000 tissue donors healed and restored life and 43,000 people had their sight restored by corneal transplants. At SwedishAmerican, nine organ donors and one donor in spirit resulted in 23 organs transplanted and seven organs donated for research. Additionally, SwedishAmerican had 12 tissue donors that impacted approximately 900 lives last year.
“Today is really about hope,” said Jackie Koenig, an RN at SwedishAmerican and member of the Organ and Tissue Donation Committee. “It’s about hope for the people who are waiting for an organ, and it’s about the people who are donating and giving someone else hope.”
Following the flag-raising ceremony, SwedishAmerican’s organ donation team played host to a donor registry informational opportunity for its employees, patients and their family members in the hospital dining commons.