VA Salt Lake City Health Care System
2017 National Donate Life Month
Two Veteran heart-transplant patients and the sister of a heart-transplant donor hoisted the Donate Life Flag above the George E. Wahlen VA Medical Center— to remind Veterans and passers-by of National Donate Life Month.
VA Salt Lake City Health Care System is one of five VA heart transplant centers in the US, and supports Veterans in a wide swath of western America. Arizona Veteran, William Garbowski, received a heart transplant just weeks ago. He told a small group gathered for a brief ceremony Friday March 31st, he was ready to die, but "God had other plans. I couldn't have asked for a happier ending."
The Donate Life Flag flies above the George E. Wahlen VA Medical Center to remind Veterans and passers-by of National Donate Life Month.
Texas Veteran, Tyrell Kyle, was flown from Houston to VASLCHCS for emergency surgery. He now wears an LVAT (Left Ventricular Activation Delay) device around his waist. Like thousands of other Americans, he is waiting for a new heart. He will remain in Salt Lake until a donor heart becomes available, and will wear the LVAT until he gets one.
More than 120,000 people in America are waiting for organ donations. One person can save or improve the life of up to over 50 people through organ, tissue and eye donations.
Utahan Jasper Peterson learned this first hand. Her sister was an organ donor, though she and the rest of her family have never thought about it. After a tragic car crash that claimed her sister’s life, her sister saved eight lives through organ donation. Months after the donations, Peterson talked to the man who received her sister’s heart—a father of two who is still able to play with his two kids because of Peterson’s sister’s gift of life.
As Kyle waits and Garbowski recovers, both Veterans hope National Donate Life Month will prompt Americans to volunteer to become organ donors. If you are interested in becoming a donor can visit www.yesutah.com or call 1-866-YES-UTAH to learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation.