April 07, 2022
Riverside, CA – Riverside Community Hospital hosted a special flag raising ceremony today, in partnership with One Legacy, to honor those who have given the ultimate gift of life by being organ and tissue donors. The annual event took place for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those in attendance included the hospital Chief Executive Officer Jackie Van Blaricum, hospital leadership teams, the Riverside Fire Department, City of Riverside Council Member Erin Edwards and Assistant to the Mayor, Edward Coronado. Also in attendance was Tom Mone, Chief Executive Officer of One Legacy.
Jackie Van Blaricum welcomed everyone by expressing why Riverside Community Hospital participates in Annual Donate Life Month. “During April, hospitals across the nation celebrate Donate Life Month to honor donors, their families and raise awareness,” said Jackie. “I would like to thank all of our organ donor families for their courage and noble acts of selflessness. In the mist of heartache and tragedy, sometimes unexpected and traumatic, finding hope in helping someone else can bring courage and strength. And for this brave act of generosity, all of us here extend a heartfelt thank you.”
Council member Erin Edwards shared there are over 20,500 people on the waiting list for an organ in the state of California and we need more people to be donors. “Currently, the need for organ transplants far exceeds availability,” said Council member Edwards. “Riverside Community Hospital and the City of Riverside partner each year in effort to encourage and educate our community on the importance of being a registered donor.”
Attendees heard two touching stories from One Legacy ambassadors Peggy Averitt, an organ donor recipient, and Kat Mantz, the mother of an 11-year-old boy who gave the gift the life to five people through organ donation. Tom Mone, Chief Executive Officer of One Legacy, shared the pandemic greatly devastated the number of transplant across the United States and all over the world. Luckily, here in Southern California, we are seeing the number of transplants and organ donation return to pre-pandemic levels.
The ceremony concluded with the Riverside Fire Department and Riverside Community Hospital Public Safety department raising the Donate Life Flag. “The flag will fly the month of April to honor those who have donated and given the gift of life,” concluded Jackie Van Blaricum.