Organ donation. These words can carry a different weight dependent on the person you are asking. Some people only associate with the question when they receive their driver’s license. Then for people like myself, it means a new shot at life and infinite gratitude to those who decide to donate theirs. I was 15 years old when I was diagnosed with a rare heart disease called Restrictive Cardiomyopathy. I was fortunate enough to maintain a stable status and live a relatively normal life up until I was 22. In November of 2015, my condition began to deteriorate and by November of 2016 I was hospitalized, forced to medically withdrawal from school just 4 weeks shy of graduation. I was then added to the heart transplant list. I received a heart transplant at the University of Kentucky Hospital on December 17, 2016. I remember waking up from surgery and for the first time in years being able to breathe and feel my heart beating and actually feeling alive. There is not a single day I do not think about my donor and their family or the new heart beating in my chest. Due to my donor’s generosity, I saw another birthday, I graduated from college, and I am living a full life. This family changed my life and others because they said “YES” to organ donation. Currently there are 114,000 waiting on a lifesaving organ transplant and not all of them will get their miracle because of lack of available organs. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have been given a second chance at life and it is only possible because this person chose to be an organ donor. I encourage whomever is reading this, to become an organ donor. Simply visit: registerme.org With all my heart, Adrianne M. Rogers
Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life Announces Kentucky’s Organ Donation Registry Surpasses The 2 Million Mark
A milestone for the thousands of Kentuckians waiting on lifesaving donations During a riveting and at times emotional press conference held in Lexington this morning, Trust for Life, the charitable arm of the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ announced that the Commonwealth’s Organ Donation Registry now has over two million registrants. This is a major milestone for the nonprofit and its partner organizations, which all support lifesaving mission of organ, eye and tissue donation and education. “This is a monumental moment for the Kentucky Organ Donor registry, and one made possible through the efforts of a multitude of caring individuals and various organizations throughout the Commonwealth,” states Melissa Cardwell, Trust For Life Board President. “For the past 27 years our singular mission has been to grow and expand Kentucky’s organ, eye and tissue donation registry, most notably with the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Driver’s License Renewal Program established in 1992, a paradigm-changing initiative which no doubt led us to today’s achievement.” Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the passage of Kentucky Senate Bill 77 that Governor Matt Bevin signed into law this past March and which expands the state’s organ and tissue donor registration for its single sign-on system starting next January 1. The first of its kind in the nation, the new system will give Kentuckians the option of registering as organ donors when they log on to the Kentucky Online Gateway website at http://bit.ly/kyonlinegateway. KOG is a repository for state services, that will greatly assist the current Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ driver’s license renewal program. In attendance during today’s press conference was a very special guest, Mike Lutz, who is alive today thanks to a successful liver transplant in July of 2017. “Through the grace of God, I received a second chance at life through the selfless action of a stranger who donated the organ I now have within my body,” he said. “Today’s announcement should give hope to the many others who anxiously wait for the second chance at life I was so fortunate to receive.” ### The mission of the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life is to inform, educate, and encourage Kentuckians to register as organ and tissue donors to save the lives of the thousands of residents on the waiting list for transplants. Since the issuance of driver’s licenses in Kentucky is the responsibility of the clerks, they successfully lobbied for legislation to allow them to request that every resident renewing a driver’s license donate $1 in support of organ donation awareness; it overwhelmingly passed and has been in effect since 1992. Over the past 26 years they have collected more than $9 million from Kentucky drivers, $1 at a time. Trust For Life has used this money to purchase advertising and to support a public relations campaign, which has significantly increased organ and tissue donation in the Commonwealth. For more information visit trustforlife.org.
Save the Date: May 13 Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust for Life Non-profit will host a Press Conference for a Milestone Announcement
A history-making announcement on the heels of the passage of Kentucky Senate Bill 77 Organ Donor Registration Expansion Signed into Law by Governor Bevin in March WHAT: Trust for Life, the charitable arm of the Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks, will hold a press conference to announce a truly historical moment for the nonprofit and its partner organizations, all of which support the lifesaving mission of organ, eye and tissue donation education. WHEN: Monday, May 13, 2019, 11:00 a.m. EDT WHERE: Embassy Suites by Hilton Lexington, 1801 Newtown Pike, Lexington, Kentucky WHO: Shelley Snyder, Executive Director, Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life and Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates Greg Helton, President, Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks’ Melissa Cardwell, Trust for Life President Transplant Recipient Special Guest (TBA) ABOUT: Since its inception in 1992, the Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life’s dedication to the promotion of organ and tissue donation in the Commonwealth has been unparalleled. Since the issuance of driver’s licenses in Kentucky is the responsibility of the clerks, they successfully lobbied for legislation to allow them to request that every resident renewing a driver’s license donate $1 in support of organ donation awareness; it overwhelmingly passed and has been in effect since 1993. Now, 26 years later, they have collected more than $9 million from Kentucky drivers, $1 at a time. Trust For Life has used this money to purchase advertising and to support a public relations campaign, which has significantly increased organ and tissue donation in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Partnering organizations that support the Donate Life State team include: Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, Kentucky Lions Eye Bank, Transplant Hospitals including Jewish Hospital and UK Healthcare, Kidney Health Alliance of Kentucky, National Kidney Foundation, Kentucky Blood Center, Second Chance at Life, along with a multitude of dedicated volunteers. ### The mission of theKentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life is to inform, educate, and encourage Kentuckians to register as organ and tissue donors to save the lives of the thousands of residents on the waiting list for transplants; for more information visit trustforlife.org. Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA)’s mission is to provide organ and tissues to those in need and to maintain a profound respect for those who gave; for further information visit kyorgandonor.org. These two nonprofits partner closely to educate and improve the lives of Kentuckians through the vitally important act of organ donation and transplantation.
SAVE THE DATE: April 9th Bearno’s Pizza Honors Registered Organ Donors, Donor Families, and Recipients with a 15% Give Back Day
Who: Bearno’s Pizza, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA), Kentucky Circuit Court Clerk’s Trust For Life When: April 9, 2019, 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. What: Donate Life Day at nine Bearno’s Pizza locations will give 15% of all sales back to supporting the mission of organ donation throughout Kentucky for ONE DAY ONLY Why: To recognize the life-saving mission of organ donation throughout our community. Bearno’s hopes to increase awareness of the need for people to register, thank those that have already registered and honor organ donor families, recipients and anyone touched by this beautiful mission. Fifteen percent of all sales, both in-store or take-out will be donated. Where: The nine Bearno’s locations include: Okolona, Dixie Hwy., Westport Road, Middletown, Bowman Field, Downtown by the Bridge, By the Bay (at Limestone Bay), and Shepherdsville. (see addresses at bottom.) Bearno’s locations participating in the Donate Life give back day are: Bearno’s Pizza – 9222 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40242 Bearno’s Shivley – 4105 Dixie Hwy, Louisville, KY 40216 Bearno’s Okolona – 8059 Preston Hwy., Louisville, KY 40219 Bearno’s By the Bridge -131 W. Main St. Louisville, KY 40202 Bearno’s By the Bay – 5801 River Rd. Louisville, KY 40059 Bearno’s Bowman Field – 2900 Taylorsville Rd., Louisville, KY 40205 Bearno’s Middletown – 13829 English Villa Drive, Louisville, KY 40245 Bearno’s Shepherdsville – 1220 Hwy 44E, Shepherdsville, KY 40165 Background: April is National Donate Life Month throughout the United States. There are 114,000 people currently on the waiting list in the U.S., and nearly 1,000 in Kentucky. Eighty percent of those are waiting on a kidney. It is important to note, anyone can register to be an organ donor, regardless of age, race, socio-economic status, religion or sexual-orientation. Currently, Kentucky has 60% of its citizens registered (approx. 2 million people) as organ donors. People can register to be an organ donor at their local Kentucky Circuit Court Clerk’s office or online at www.registerme.org. ### Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates mission is to provide organ and tissues to those in need and to maintain a profound respect for those who gave. For more information visit kyorgandonor.org. The mission of theKentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life is to inform, educate, and encourage Kentuckians to register as organ and tissue donors to save lives. For more information visit trustforlife.org. These two nonprofits partner closely to educate and improve the lives of Kentuckians through organ donation and transplantation.
February is American Heart Month and I want to share a special firsthand account as a parent of a very young donor recipient. My little girl’s whose life was forever changed thanks to a heartfelt donation. “I am writing to share the story of my daughter Eleanor, who is alive today because of an organ donor.She was born with multiple congenital heart defects. A team of doctors determined that her only option was a heart transplant. At 10 days old, Eleanor’s name was added to the national waiting list. After a 2-month wait, when she was 10 weeks old, she received her life saving heart transplant, and we are immensely grateful for every day since. Eleanor is fortunate to have encountered minimal complications post-transplant, and now at 8 years old is a thriving, happy ray of light to everyone. Healthy, active and full of energy, a constant reminder of how far she’s come. Looking at her it’s almost hard to believe the tough times she’s been through. We are so proud of Eleanor’s courage and resilience. We love her enthusiasm, her creativity, her imagination, she has the best laugh, she gives the best hugs, she just makes everyone smile. Her favorite phrase is "BEST DAY EVER!"Last fall we celebrated her first day of 2nd grade, another milestone made possible by her donor. She is an incredible success story, living life in honor of her donor. The donor family selflessly said yes to organ donation. Their yes kept our family whole and allowed Eleanor to receive the ultimate gift: a perfectly matched heart and a second chance at a full life. When she was born we didn’t know how much time we would have with her. Because our donor family made the decision to donate life, we got to keep her. Every day is bonus time. Her survival was dependent upon the kindness of strangers. Organ donation is the ultimate act of kindness. There are currently over 114,000 men, women and children nationwide waiting for lifesaving transplants.I hope and pray my message inspires others to pay it forward in the biggest way possible, because tomorrow is never promised. Regardless of age or medical background, you have the power to save lives. Please register to become and organ/tissue donor and make your wishes known to your loved ones at RegisterMe.org or at your local Circuit Court Clerk’s office.” Lindsey Westenhofer Eleanor’s Mother Louisville, KY (Jefferson)
February 14th is National Donor Day, which aims to serve as a reminder of the importance of discussing the lifesaving possibilities of organ and tissue donation. Thanks to the Circuit Court Clerks of Kentucky, showing the heart on your driver’s license is the perfect way to start a conversation about love and legacy. Melissa Cardwell, Butler Co. Circuit Court Clerk said, “We encourage everyone to use National Donor Day to discuss organ donation with those closest to you. Joining the Organ Donor Registry means you have made the decision to save and heal lives at the time of your death, if you are eligible. It won’t happen for many years, but at that time, what an amazing gift to give someone a second chance at life. A last act of love and kindness to another soul.” Currently more than 1,000 people are awaiting a lifesaving transplant in Kentucky with more than 114,000 waiting nationwide. Every day 22 people die waiting. Everyone is eligible to register as a donor when you renew your driver’s license or online www.registerme.org. There are no health or age limits. “When we think of lifesavers, we often think of our military, first responders, and hospital workers. But each of us can be a hero. Thinking about what happens after we are gone from this earth may not be easy, but talking about the heroic, generous legacy we hope to leave behind is inspiring,” explains Shelley Snyder, Executive Director of the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life Organ Donation Awareness Program. “You can share the love this National Donor Day by starting the conversation with those closest to you. Proudly show your generous heart on your license. Every heart gives hope to those suffering and waiting.” Michelle Branham from Magoffin County, Ky., knows firsthand the miracle of receiving a kidney transplant after she suffered for years from kidney disease. “On Sept. 9, 2017, I received the call that my family and I had long been waiting for. They had a match! I would be getting a new kidney!” she said. “I will never forget that phone call; I was actually at the Dialysis Center when I was contacted. The excitement I felt was indescribable! My family and I hurriedly gathered our things and made the trip to meet my transplant team. All because someone made the choice to give life through organ donation!” Michelle has worked to honor her donor since her transplant. “I’m so lucky to be able to spend time with my daughter and loved ones. I’m so grateful for my donor, because thanks to them I’m able to see my beautiful daughter play, celebrate special times with loved ones and simply go to the store without struggling and needing assistance with daily things.” The dollar donations at Circuit Court Clerks’ Driver’s License counters and other philanthropic partners, including KODA and Kosair Charities, fund the statewide community outreach and public relations efforts to grow the Registry. Kentucky was recently recognized by Donate Life America [...]
November is a month of giving THANKS! It is a time that many take the time to enjoy family and friends and to remember all the “Good Things” in their life! Every November begins a new season of “giving,” and it is also a time that many around the world recognize as the “Donor Sabbath” month. During the National Donor Sabbath, faith leaders, donor families, transplant recipients, and donation and transplantation professionals participate in services and programs to increase awareness. This month we remember the need for the lifesaving, enhanced gifts passed to others through transplantation. It is time we continue to encourage people to say “yes” to the organ donation registry. Those who donate organs, tissues, and blood stem cells restore hope and share gifts beyond measure. The recipients are full of Thanks! Why is this important to me? On February 3, 2016, I had a heart attack while driving home from the gym. I thought I was having muscle spasms; I pulled over on the side of the road hoping that the pain would pass. It did not pass, in fact, EMS had to pick me up in the parking lot of a corner store. Two days later I was in the hospital waiting for my discharge paperwork when I had my second heart attack. I died with this one! In the words of my youngest son, “the doctors had to put the jumper cables on me.” This was an attempt at his humor as he struggled with what his mom was enduring. That episode caused me to go into heart failure. Fast forward five months and I find myself in Lexington, KY at the UK Healthcare Heart Transplant Center awaiting a lifesaving heart. I remember asking myself “how did I get here; how did this happen to me?” am I needing a new heart, and if I don’t get one, am I going to die sooner rather than later? It was during this time I remembered that I was registered as an organ donor! It was at that moment that I truly understood the importance of that question asked by the staff of the Kentucky Circuit Clerks’ offices around the state, “Would you like to register as an organ donor?” “Would you like to donate to the organ donor awareness program?” I thought I would be the one giving not the one in need. On July 27, 2016, I received a new heart! They told me it was a perfect match! I invite you to join me in honoring those who, at the end of their life, gave life! You too can save lives by registering as an organ donor at RegisterMe.org. You never know you or someone you love might need a “perfect match!” Forever Thankful, Monica Brown
Currently, there are 116,000+ men, women and children waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in the U.S. Every day 22 people die waiting with someone new added to the organ donor list every 10 minutes. One of those is Courtney, and this is her story. My name is Courtney Thompson, I'm 23 years old and on the waiting list for a double lung transplant. I have Cystic Fibrosis, a progressive genetic lung disease, and to beat it I'll need a double lung transplant. I live in Murray, Kentucky, and recently graduated from Murray State University. Every day I strive to be an advocate for organ donation and Cystic Fibrosis awareness. I was listed on December 29, 2016. My lungs are currently functioning at 27%, and I'm on three liters of oxygen. Life hasn't been easy, but I have a wonderful family and friends who love me and are always supportive. If it weren't for them, Cystic Fibrosis would have already defeated me, but I won't back down. A transplant can come at any time. On September 4, 2017, at 8:30 p.m. I received a call about a set of lungs that could be a match. Soon afterward my doctor told me I wouldn't receive them because the only surgeon on staff had transplanted three others within 48 hours. But even though it didn't work out, I'm still thankful and hopeful because I know there will be another call. Please become a registered organ donor by going to Registerme.org or saying "yes" at your Circuit Court Clerk's office when asked if you want to register. There's no testing or blood work, just the word "yes". Because when you register people like me and so many others, will have another chance at life. A life we've never had because of a chronic illness holding us back. Courtney Thompson