'Teammates for Life' Reflects Courage, Compassion

April 20, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — April not only brings showers, it also marks a special time when The University of Kansas Health System honors those who give and receive organ, eye and tissue donations.

The health system hosted its annual Rose Ceremony April 8 at the Westwood Atrium. This year's theme, Teammates for Life, reflected guest speakers' messages about how deeply and meaningfully their lives have been impacted as organ, tissue and cornea recipients, or as donor families.

Rose Ceremony stories are full of love, sacrifice, challenges and joy. Dave Flynn spoke with pride about the generosity of his wife, Heather, who died almost two years ago after suffering a stroke. She donated kidneys, corneas and tissue.

Kris Brees was the first liver transplant recipient at The University of Kansas Health System in 1990. She recalled her life's struggles before the procedure and expressed gratitude to her donor and care team. She's now celebrating 18 years at the health system – as a registered nurse.

Thanks to the compassionate work of the caregivers at the health system, we recovered 56 organs for transplant from 22 donors, and 51 patients gave the gift of tissue, enhancing approximately 2,550 lives in 2016. Those numbers are the highest ever at The University of Kansas Health System. 

Physicians and staff in the Center for Transplantation are doing their part to support the lifesaving donations. In 2016 they performed 236 liver and renal transplants; last year also marked the historic launch of the health system's heart transplant program.

The transplant program at The University of Kansas Health System encompasses approximately 120 physicians, nurses and others in the Center for Transplantation, as well as several hundred more staff on Units 63-64, who care for patients after surgeries.

"The work of staff members here never ceases to amaze me," said Courtney Root, the Midwest Transplant Network coordinator at The University of Kansas Health System. "They go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the absolute best patient care and compassionate support for their families."

Related Links:

National Donate Life Day

On Friday, April 21, wear your blue and green in honor of National Donate Life Day. These colors will show your support for organ, eye and tissue transplantation and the extreme need for registered donors.

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