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Allegheny Health Network Celebrates National Donate Life Month with Series of Events

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Network Hospitals Will Celebrate Organ Donors, Recipients While Focusing on the Critical Need for Awareness and Donor Registration

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – In their ongoing effort to raise awareness of the critical need for organ donors while honoring the powerful stories of organ donation, all seven Allegheny Health Network (AHN) hospitals will host a series of events in the weeks ahead to celebrate National Donate Life Month. The events will take place throughout April at Allegheny General, Allegheny Valley, Canonsburg, Forbes, Jefferson, Saint Vincent and West Penn hospitals.

Among the month’s highlights will be flag-raising ceremonies at each hospital. These observances will provide a platform for emotional stories about the gift of donation from the perspective of donor families and transplant recipients, as well as raise awareness for the importance of donor registration. Dates for each hospital’s ceremony are detailed below.

All AHN hospitals will rally together in the name of organ donation awareness on Tuesday, April 3 for “Step Up and Give a Hand Day.” Employees and visitors will be encouraged to make their mark and pledge their support for organ donation by joining in on colorful handprint displays.

On Friday, April 13, each hospital across AHN, as well as its parent company, Highmark Health, will unite for “National Donate Life Blue and Green Day.” All employees will be asked to wear blue and green attire to work to show support for organ donation. At Highmark’s Fifth Avenue Place headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh, the lunchtime crowd will have the opportunity to visit an informational table in the lobby staffed by representatives from the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) and AHN. To cap off the day, the city skyline will pay tribute to Donate Life Month as the iconic spire atop Fifth Avenue Place will be illuminated in a blend of blue and green light.

“April is an important month for Allegheny Health Network as our employees come together to honor the heroes of organ donation and transplantation, ” said Cynthia Hundorfean, President and CEO, Allegheny Health Network. “With a new patient added to the national organ transplant waiting list every ten minutes, our goal is to improve the public’s awareness and understanding of this critical issue and increase the registration for organ donation so that this precious gift is available to more people.”

According to CORE, 20 people die in the U.S. every day while awaiting an organ and the nationwide organ waiting list is now more than 115,000 people long which includes more than 7,500 people who live in Pennsylvania.

AHN’s commitment to organ, tissue and cornea donation resulted in 151 lives being saved by organs donated at its hospitals in 2017. Additionally, there were 170 tissue donors from AHN hospitals potentially resulting in up to 12,750 transplants. Another 130 AHN donors provided the gift of sight through corneal transplantation.

In line with its continued efforts throughout the community, AHN once again has teamed up with the Pirate Parrot to raise awareness for organ donation. The beloved Pittsburgh Pirates’ mascot will be featured in newspaper ads and hospital signage starting in April to promote organ donor registration.

In addition to Step Up and Give a Hand and National Blue and Green days, the following events will take place at AHN throughout April:

Flag-Raisings:

  • Monday, April 2 at 11 a.m. – Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) in Pittsburgh
  • Thursday, April 5 at 1 p.m. – Canonsburg Hospital in Canonsburg
  • Friday, April 6 at 9 a.m. – Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie, followed by a donor & recipient parade
  • Monday, April 9 –West Penn Hospital (11 a.m.) in Bloomfield; Allegheny Valley Hospital in Natrona Heights (1 p.m.)
  • Thursday, April 12 at 10 a.m. – Forbes Hospital in Monroeville
  • Monday, April 16 at 1 p.m. – Jefferson Hospital in Jefferson Hills

Other Activities:

  • Friday, April 6 at 7 p.m. – National Donate Life Month recognition day at PNC Park. Representatives from AHN and CORE will have organ donation information available at a table outside of PNC Park. Also on that day, a heart transplant patient, Lorraine Rice, will throw the ceremonial first pitch before the Pirates face the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Friday, April 13 at 1:30 p.m. – Donor and recipient parade at Jefferson Hospital
  • Monday, April 23 at 1 p.m. – Rose garden ceremony at AGH. The event will honor those who have graciously saved others through organ donation.
  • Thursday, April 26 at 11:30am – Rose garden ceremony at West Penn Hospital
  • Monday, April 30 at noon – Donor-recipient pinning ceremony at AGH. At this event, living donors and organ recipients will speak about their experiences. Afterward, each pairing will pin one another to symbolize this unique, powerful bond.

About CORE
The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is one of 58 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the United States. CORE works closely with donor families and designated health care professionals to coordinate the surgical recovery of organs, tissues and corneas for transplantation. CORE also facilitates the computerized matching of donated organs and placement of corneas. With headquarters in Pittsburgh and an office in Charleston, WV, CORE oversees a region that encompasses 155 hospitals and almost six million people throughout western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Chemung County, NY. For more information, visit www.core.org or call 1-800-DONORS-7.