Riverside, CA — Riverside Community Hospital and OneLegacy – the non-profit organ and tissue recovery agency in Riverside County – honored organ, eye and tissue donors and their families by hosting a special Donate Life Flag Raising Ceremony on April 8th. The hospital is flying the Donate Life Flag during the month of April in recognition of National Donate Life month. This display is part of a national initiative known as 'Flags Across America' which celebrates the hundreds of thousands of donors and recipients whose lives have been affected by organ, eye and tissue donation.
At the ceremony, donor and recipient families, community leaders and health care professionals gathered with team members of Riverside Community Hospital for a heartfelt ceremony to raise awareness about donation. Tina York, the mother of Arlington High School football player Tyler Lewellen, along with his grandparents, were also among those in attendance. As part of the ceremony, Mrs. York spoke about her son's life and her family's choice to donate. Through her decision, five lives were saved. At the end of her testimony, Mrs. York encouraged those in the crowd to make the decision to register to become organ, eye and tissue donors.
Others who participated in the Donate Life Flag Raising Ceremony included Fran Paschall, Chief Nursing Officer of Riverside Community Hospital, Ron Martin, Director of Transplant at Riverside Community Hospital, Mayor Rusty Bailey of the City of Riverside, Kathy Vasilopulos, Director of Donation Development at OneLegacy, and Lena Russell, a transplant recipient and Donate Life Ambassador. The ceremony concluded with the Riverside Fire Department together with Riverside Community Hospital Security Officers raising the Donate Life flag. The flag pole was surrounded with 201 miniature Donate Life flags which signified the number of RCH patients who are on the national waitlist awaiting a life-saving transplant.
Riverside Community Hospital, OneLegacy, and the City of Riverside are working together to launch a city wide initiative to grow awareness on the need for donors and increase the number of registered donors within our community.
"Riverside Community Hospital is proud to be part of this national initiative to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and to honor our donors, recipients and their families. The kindness of these patients and their families allows us to continue our ground-breaking work in transplantation," said Patrick Brilliant, President & CEO of Riverside Community Hospital. "Thanks to their generous and heroic acts, our team of surgeons and healthcare professionals have saved innumerable lives."
Every year, thousands of lives are saved by the selfless act of those who give through the gift of organ, eye or tissue donation. In some cases, family members give life-saving gifts during a time of tragedy by donating a loved one's organs. And for every one person who does, as many as 8 lives can be saved through organ donation and up to 50 lives can be saved or enhanced through tissue donation.
To learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation, visit www.onelegacy.org. Anyone, regardless of age or medical history, can sign up to be a donor. You can register to be a donor by visiting, www.donatelifecalifornia.org/riverside. In-person organ donor registration is available at a local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.
For further information about the Riverside Community Hospital's Transplant Programs, please visit www.riversidecommunityhospital.com.