Nurses, doctors, transplant coordinators and patients were among those in the crowd that gathered today on April 20 to celebrate 40 years of the UNC Comprehensive Transplant Center. Along with kidney transplant, UNC also offers heart, lung, liver, pancreas, and bone marrow and stem cell transplant.
There were several speakers at this celebratory event.
Dr. Mandel discussed what the focus for the future of the program will look like, emphasizing the importance of utilizing a team approach. He also addressed the challenges that face transplant; specifically, the lack of organs available.Dr. Falk opened the ceremony and introduced the first speaker Dr. Stanley Mandel, the Medical Director of UNC Hospitals Operating Rooms.
Also speaking was Representative Dale Folwell of Forsyth County, who co-sponsored the “Heart Prevails” bill which was signed into law in 2007. This law mandates that those who indicate on their driver’s license that they wish to become organ donors–through the heart symbol on their license-will have their wishes honored without the need for additional legal consent.
Jason Ray was one of those persons who became an organ donor when he passed away in an automobile accident in 2007. He was a UNC student and the student mascot, Ramses, for three years. His organs have saved the lives of four people.
Mr. and Mrs. Ray, Jason’s parents, also spoke at the event about the importance of choosing organ donation and the impact their son had on the lives of so many in life and, with organ donation, in death.
The president and CEO of Carolina Donor Services, Lloyd Jordan, presented the HRSA Organ Donation Medal of Honor to the UNC Comprehensive Transplant Center. This is awarded to centers who sustain a donation rate of 75% or more from eligible donors in one year.
During the ceremony, five individuals were recognized for their pioneering commitment and life-saving dedication to the center, including Dr. Stanley Mandel, UNC Kidney Center’s Dr. William Finn, Dr. Michael Mill, Dr. Hartwig Bunzendahl and Dr. Thomas Egan.