Allison Perry

UK HealthCare, KODA Celebrate Organ Donors

Published: Sep 23, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 23, 2013) — Forty years ago, Perry County native Jim Halcomb received the gift of life – in the form of a new kidney – from an anonymous organ donor.

 

Halcomb, who was only 20 years old at the time, suffered from severe kidney disease and required dialysis three times a week, eight hours at a time. After his transplant at UK, his health improved, and he moved on with his life, serving as a police officer for more than 25 years.

 

Because of the rules and regulations surrounding organ donation at the time of his transplant, he never knew that he could contact the family of his organ donor to express his appreciation. But that changed last month, when Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) and UK HealthCare facilitated communications between Halcomb and his donor’s family. 

 

With the encouragement of Donna Slone, the client services coordinator for KODA at UK HealthCare, Halcomb wrote the donor family a letter, thanking them all for their sacrifice. 

 

“It was very difficult to write,” Halcomb said. “A lot of emotions, a lot of time had passed. But Donna just said, ‘Speak from the heart.’”

 

On Saturday, Halcomb was one of several featured speakers at UK HealthCare and KODA’s annual Gift of Life Memorial Celebration in UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion A. Representing those who have received the gift of life, Halcomb read his letter out loud.

 

“I’m a very private person, and I used to never speak about my transplant because I didn’t want special attention or favors,” said Halcomb, who participated in a “Body Mapping” workshop with other transplant recipients earlier this year and inspired him to start sharing his story. “A year ago, I couldn’t have done it. But it means the world to me to be able to read the letter this year.”

 

UK HealthCare and KODA first unveiled the memorial wall last year, with 240 individuals honored and more than 500 donor family members and guests in attendance for the inaugural celebration. Moving forward, the wall will be updated each year to honor both new donors and those who donated in years past.

 

“Creating a lasting tribute to those who have given hope and new life through donation has been a dream of UK and KODA for many years,” said Slone. “There have been nearly 1,000 donors at UK since transplantation began here in 1964. Some have chosen to remain anonymous, but we hope other families of UK donors that we did not reach this year will see the Gift of Life wall and allow us to add those names in the future.”

 

This year, the names of 40 individuals who provided the gift of life through organ and tissue donation were read aloud during the official ceremony and unveiled on the Gift of Life wall, located inside Pavilion A adjacent to the Gill Heart Institute.

 

Tricia Ricketts, whose 25-year-old son Ryan was an organ donor in 2008, spoke on behalf of the organ donor families.

 

“It helps me to be able to speak about Ryan and share his history,” Ricketts said. “It helps me keep his memory alive.”

 

The ceremony also featured a vocal performance by KODA Client Services Coordinator Diana Thacker, as well as remarks from UK HealthCare's Chief Administrative Officer Ann Smith and Dr. Andrew Bernard, UK's director of trauma and acute care surgery. Bernard, also the chair of the Donation and Transplantation Action Council, emphasized the importance of organ donation in Kentucky and beyond.

 

“UK HealthCare is both a major trauma center and a transplant center, so we see each day how donation and transplantation touch the lives of fellow Kentuckians in very remarkable ways,” Bernard said. “Each donor family’s generosity and their loved one’s gifts are represented in the more than 28,000 lives saved each year in the United States through transplantation.”

 

Every year, an estimated 6,000 people die while waiting for an organ transplant. More than 119,000 Americans are currently waiting for donated organs, including 900 people in Kentucky. Their names are on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list. The level of necessity, blood type, and size are among several criteria that determine who can receive a donated organ. One individual donor can provide organs and tissue for nearly 50 people in need.

 

Ricketts, who was unable to attend the memorial service last year due to illness, got to see her son’s name immortalized on the wall this weekend. She has met two of her son’s organ recipients – a kidney patient and a double-lung patient, and says she considers them part of her family now. As a member of the Family Counsel for KODA, she makes it her duty to speak and spread the word about organ donation and KODA when she can.

 

“I think KODA is a top-notch organization – you see so much compassion and professionalism, and they are so supportive,” Ricketts said. “And I think this donor wall at UK is really something special.”

 

Although hospitals are obligated by law to identify potential donors and allow the organ donor procurement program to inform families of their right to donate, anyone can sign up to become an organ donor by joining the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry. The registry is a safe and secure electronic database where a person’s wishes regarding donation will be carried out as requested.

 

To join the registry, visit www.donatelifeky.org or sign up when you renew your driver’s license.  The donor registry enables family members to know that you chose to save and enhance lives through donation. Kentucky’s “First Person Consent” laws mean that the wishes of an individual on the registry will be carried out as requested. 

 

If your loved one was an organ donor at UK Chandler Hospital and you would like to have him or her honored on the Gift of Life wall in the future, contact Donna Slone at (859) 323-7343 or donna.slone.koda@uky.edu.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or allison.perry@uky.edu

halcombs.jpgimg_4460.jpgcassie.jpg
November
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
College of Pharmacy Open House
Iron Pour
UK Women's Choir 20th Anniversary Concert
Adventure Hiking & Rappelling @ Red River Gorge
Pickin' Time Mountain Music and Harvest Day
Purposeful Retirement: Planning Your Next Stage of Life
Diwali Dhoom 2014
Sat
2
UK Percussion Ensemble
Day Hike
Curator Tour: Take My Word For It
Sun
3
Industry Career Week: Resumes and Cover Letters
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Morehead State
Mon
4
Industry Career Week: How to Impress Your Boss in 90 Days
Rock Star Professionalism Series
UK Lab Band
Tue
5
Industry Career Week: Networking and Job Search
Social Enterprise and Innovation / Certified Nonprofit Professional Program Informational Meeting
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Appalachian Forum with Dr. Fran Ansley
Dana Harper Gallery Reception
Wed
6
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Zona Sur
LNFS Presents: The Grand Budapest Hotel
UK Jazz Ensemble
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Abstract Workshop
Lauren Potter
Thu
7
LNFS Presents: V for Vendetta
Last Day to Withdraw or Reduce Course Load
Circle of Love Name Distribution
R.C. May Photography Lecture Series: Marvin Heiferman
Men's Soccer vs. Charlotte
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Georgia
Free Friday Evening Swing Dance
Fri
8
Kentucky Football vs. Georgia
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
The Power of Poetry
The Lexington Lowdown and Free Lindy Hop Workshop
Swing Dance Featuring Live music by"The Metrognomes Orchestra"
Sat
9
UK Combos Concert
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Missouri
Sun
10
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Mon
11
UK Sax Ensembles
Job Club - Interviewing Strategies
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Jose Abisambra Presentation on Current Alzheimer's Research
Women of the World: Judy Smith
Tue
12
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Reservoir Dogs
Refugee Life in America
#UKEDTALKS: International Opportunities for Education Majors
Leadership Assessment
Wed
13
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Iron Man 3
Chili and Pie Cook-Off Supper
#TrendingTopics: Vegetarians vs. Meat-Eaters
Campus Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics KY
LNFS Presents: La Demora
Thu
14
LNFS Presents: Pretty in Pink
LNFS Presents: Mean Girls
Fri
15
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
16
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Florida
Greek Cinematography: Critical Approach and Discussion
"Storied Streets" Documentary Showing about Experiences of Homelessness
Sun
17
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
UK Rep Bands Concert
College of Agriculture, Food & Environment 2014 Celebration of Land-Grant Research
Amanda Rogers, "Black Flags, ISIS 'Swag' & Jihadi Rap: Marketing Militancy after the Arab Spring"
Stories of Homelessness: Panel Discussion
Mon
18
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
A Positive Approach to Caregiving Conference
Education Abroad Open House
CatWatch Party
Appalachian Forum and Film Screening of "Up the Ridge"
Tue
19
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
LNFS Presents: The Princess and the Frog
Pinterest Party
International Games Day
Global Design with Phil Duncan
Caregiver Support Group
OXFAM Social Issues Banquet
Wed
20
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You
LNFS Presents: The Big Lebowski
International Education Week Keynote Speaker: Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education at USAID
Tobacco-free Tailgate 5 Year Anniversary
Bollywood Night
Thu
21
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: Water For Elephants
4th Annual Markesbery Symposium on Aging & Dementia
Freedom from Fear: On Black Childhood and Other Dangers
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
MEAT.
Fri
22
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
23
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
UK Symphony Band and UK Concert Band
Sun
24
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Mon
25
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Job Club - What is your money habitude?
Multicultural Student Thanksgiving Dinner
Tue
26
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Wed
27
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Thu
28
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Fri
29
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Arkansas
Sat
30
 
Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mon, 11/24/2014

Wed, 11/26/2014 - Sat, 11/29/2014

Reset Page