Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Organ donation advocate

Eva Markvoort  talks to a Province reporter in Vancouver on Sept. 24, 2009. She had a double lung transplant but her body rejected the organs. The University of Victoria granted her a fine arts degree in her Vancouver hospital bed.

Eva Markvoort talks to a Province reporter in Vancouver on Sept. 24, 2009. She had a double lung transplant but her body rejected the organs. The University of Victoria granted her a fine arts degree in her Vancouver hospital bed.

Photograph by: Wayne Leidenfrost, The Province

Eva Markvoort, the 25-year-old University of Victoria student whose blog about her battle with cystic fibrosis attracted an international following, died yesterday of the disease.
Markvoort has recently been awarded her theatre degree from UVic at her hospital bedside.
She had struggled with the genetic disease since she was a year old and went into chronic rejection after receiving a double lung transplant in 2007.
Her father, Bill Markvoort, said her family was by her side in her last days and "in the end she simply ran out of breath."
"We're going to miss her so much."
Markvoort's website, under the moniker 65 Red Roses, inspired an award-winning documentary of the same name, which aired on the CBC.
The New Westminster native wanted to be an actor, and it was with a dramatic flair that she spread awareness about cystic fibrosis and the importance of organ donation.
Shortly after news of her death, hundreds of messages of condolence from all over the world flooded her blog.
"She is in our hearts. Rest in peace dear Eva," said Natalia from Poland.
"Eva changed my life with her message of hope and love. I will never be the same, and though there are no words to express my sorrow for your loss, I am glad to know that she is in peace," wrote Laura, from Albuquerque, NM.
On March 25, Markvoort wrote her last post.
"I am not managing, not managing at all. I'm drowning in the medications. I can't breathe. Every hour. Once an hour. I can't breathe. Something has to change"
As she lay in Vancouver General Hospital the last two months of her life, the walls of her room were plastered with hundreds of cards and letters, many from people with terminal illnesses inspired by her strength.
Markvoort recorded a tearful goodbye video Feb. 11, saying she likely had only days to live. But she kept hoping a lung donor might become available, despite the risks that come with a second double lung transplant.
In late February, UVic forgave the two electives she had yet to finish and awarded Markvoort her bachelor's degree in fine arts. She was also awarded the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Doug Summerhayes award for outstanding commitment to the cause.
Her father said her response after accepting the award was, "This is my legacy."
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, people make a donation in Markvoort's name to the Vancouver chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at www.cfvancouver.ca

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Source: San Jose Mercury News

Inspired by his brush with death last year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Friday made a surprise appearance at Stanford's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital to describe how a liver transplant saved his life — and why patients with less wealth and fame should have the same opportunities.
"I was almost one of the ones that died waiting for a liver in California last year," said Jobs, whippet-thin but healthy, in a brief event with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to unveil a new legislative effort to greatly expand the number of California organ donors.
In his first public description of his much-rumored but long-secret crisis, Jobs said "there were simply not enough livers in California to go around and my doctors here advised me to enroll in a transplant program in Memphis, where the supply-demand ratio of livers is more favorable than it is in California."
"I was very fortunate," the notoriously private Apple icon shared with an audience of doctors, transplant patients and media. A Tennessee donor was a "match" — and Jobs had a jet available to rush cross-country within the four-hour "window" needed for successful surgery. "Many others died waiting to receive one."
Moved by his good fortune and quick access to an organ, Jobs shared his story last year with California First Lady Maria Shriver at a Christmas event, then started discussing ideas with Schwarzenegger to broaden California's organ donor program. The governor's office drafted legislation, which is being sponsored by State Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose).
The number of available California organs has declined in recent years, so the demand for organs far outstrips their supply — a consequence of helmet laws and drunk-driving crackdowns that have reduced auto and motorcycle deaths.
In contrast, the Memphis-based Methodist University Hospital, where Jobs had surgery, has one of the shortest waiting times of any liver transplant center in the country, according to a transplant registry.
Of his current health, Jobs told other transplant survivors who attended the crowded Friday news conference at a Packard auditorium, "I'm feeling fine. I almost died. It's been a pretty good last few months."
The new bill would require applicants for drivers licenses to answer whether they would be an organ and tissue donor before the California Department of Motor Vehicles will issue their license. Those willing to donate would be added to a formal state registry.
For now, the DMV issues a license regardless of whether the applicant answer that question at all.
Of the 26 million drivers in the state, only 6.3 million have signed to be organ and tissue donors.
The bill also creates a "California Living Donor Registry," which connects sick patients to altruistic strangers who are willing to donate a kidney. According to Stanford doctors kidney donation is relatively safe and does not shorten life span of donors.
Until now, Jobs, 55, has been mostly silent on the subject of his transplant. Six years ago he disclosed that he had been diagnosed with — and cured of — a rare form of pancreatic tumor called islet neuroendocrine cancer. Then he was treated for weight loss and went on a medical leave from Apple. He received his liver transplant last April and has returned to work.
Methodist Hospital in Memphis said Jobs did not receive favored treatment — rather, he received a transplant because he was the sickest patient on the wait list, with a matching blood type, when a donor organ became available.
But it takes money to be added to an out-of-state transplant list. A prospective patient must go to the hospital for evaluation and testing. If accepted, they must be able to fly to the center quickly — which means renting or buying a nearby home, or owning or renting a jet.
Jobs' decision to advocate for greater organ donations was applauded by the governor.
"Steve Jobs' was very instrumental in getting us here today," said the governor. "He put the pressure on us to get this bill going."
Happily recounting the events that led to the bill, a smiling Schwarzenegger said last Christmas, Jobs "talked to my wife about his transplant and then my wife talked to me about it, and I talked to him about it, and we had these great phone conversations back and forth and now here it is reality — we are introducing the bill."
Schwarzenegger also said he was inspired by UCLA Medical Center's chief transplant surgeon Dr. Ron Busuttil who, while seated next to the Governor at a Christmas party, described the desperate need for greater donations.
The governor's office drafted the legislation this winter and asked Sen. Alquist, who has a long-standing interest in medical issues, to introduce it.
There are now more than 21,000 California residents waiting for an organ donation.
Commending Jobs, the governor said "What I like about Steve is, because he is a wealthy man that helped him get the transplant. But he doesn't want that — that only wealthy people can get the transplant and have a plane waiting to take him anywhere he needs to go.
"He wants every human being, if you have no money at all or if you're the richest person in the world," he said, "everyone ought to have the right to get immediately a transplant."

Monday, March 15, 2010

UNOS on Life and death issues

About 106,000 people are on the national waiting list for organ transplants.
Needed: more than 83,000 kidneys, 15,000 livers, 3,000 hearts, 1,800 lungs, 1,400 pancreases and others. Only about a fourth of those needing a transplant get one in any given year.
Walter K. Graham is cognizant of those numbers as head of the Richmond-based United Network for Organ Sharing, the national organization in charge of matching donor organs with people needing lifesaving transplants.
"When I first came to UNOS, I think there were about 10,000 people on the waiting list nationally," said Graham, UNOS' executive director since 1995 and the organization's assistant executive director for eight years before that....Click on full article below.

On life-and-death issues, UNOS chief a steadying influence | Richmond Times-Dispatch

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Liver – I Heart Guts

Liver – Have a Drink on Me! « I Heart Guts

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Liver – Have a Drink on Me!

The liver makes many of the body’s most vital chemicals, including cholesterol, bile, proteins and the clotting factors needed to stop bleeding. It also stores sugars, proteins, vitamins for use later. The liver also helps break down harmful substances and metabolize drugs. He works in detox! Say liver in Japanese: Kanzou!

15 minutes of fame for the Colon

Ok, Ok, this is focusing on something a tad lower than Larry usually focuses on, but one of the procedures Ricki has had to have done (more than once) is a Colonoscopy (It's easier to talk about her in the third person regarding such "delicate" subjects.) tehehe... Anyway, every time I go in for this procedure the techs and doctors rave about how important it is to be screened for colon cancer. It is the number 2 cancer killer in America, yet has a cure rate of over 95% if caught... This is not painful people, the worse part is the prep (and that's really not that bad whiny babies) Really... Livers don't lie remember. tehehe.... watch Katie.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rachaels Story

Rachael Wakefield on BBC North West Tonight from Live Life Then Give Life on Vimeo.

Rachael's time is running out. I don't know her personally, but follow her story closely. She is amazingly brave and FIGHTING for life. She is also already paying it forward. Please pray she gets her lungs in time. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010



Law enforcement officers take an oath to protect and serve the public and Reedley Police Officer Javier Bejar was no exception. His commitment to service will now live on in others even as his family grieves their loss.
Early Monday morning the family of Officer Bejar chose to donate his organs and let him go in peace. A decision the Amezcua family of Fresno knows all too well. Sadly German Amezqua's son became an organ donor, "My heart goes out to the family. I know what they're going through."The terrible human cost of the Minkler shoot out on February 25, 2010 was evident almost immediately outside Community Regional Medical Center's emergency room. Two of three wounded officers would ultimately pay the highest price: Fresno County Sheriff Deputy Joel Walenheimer and Reedley Police Officer Javier Bejar.

After learning that Sebastian was without brain function his parents made the decision they had often discussed, even as their hearts were breaking, "It was a not an easy decision but it was a decision we had already talked about. There was no way to help my son medically that could bring him back."In Northeast Fresno a little more than two years ago a horrible crash caused by a teen in a stolen car left German Amezqua's son Sebastian in a brain dead state. His wife and other son, Emanuel were also injured.

Families don't walk this road alone. They have support and help from hospital staff and the California Donor Network. First they provide grief support for as long as the family needs. No family is pressured say Esther Padilla who follows and assists donor families long after their decision is made, "It's never easy for a family. And when they are ready they'll give you the sign: What's next? What do we do next?"
Only then says Padilla will they be walked through the process, the paperwork and ultimately the decision to offer the gift of life. German Amezcua knows its value, "And for the people that received those organs it was a very special gift." And a very precious one says Amezcua. He and his wife Jessie take comfort in knowing part of their son lives on. He hopes Officer Bejar's family will find strength in that same comfort, "Our prayers are with them it's a very, very hard thing they're going through."
If you would like to assist the families of these fallen law enforcement officers here's how, an account has been set up for officer Bejar's family. People wanting to donate can go to any Chase Bank branch and ask to donate to the "Javier Bejar support fund". No account information is necessary
The California Transplant donor Network is a non-profit organ recovery organization and the link between organ donors in hospitals and patients on the transplant waiting list.
To sign up to be an organ and tissue donor:
English: www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org
Spanish: www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org
For more information visit: www.ctdn.org