Changing Lives Through Organ Donation
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“Send-Off” Celebration to Honor Our Region’s 2015 Rose Parade Honorees

December 11th, 2014 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network

 

As the countdown continues to the 2015 Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day — which will include the appearance of the Donate Life float to promote organ, eye and tissue donation — the parade honorees from our region were acknowledged at a news conference and reception.

The special event took place on Monday, December 8 at the University of Rochester Medical Center/Strong Memorial Hospital. It recognized the extraordinary connection between three individuals who will be honored at the upcoming Rose Parade: a living kidney donor, a deceased organ donor and an organ transplant recipient.

The honorees’ appearance at the Rose Parade are being sponsored by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network and the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Solid Organ Transplant Program.


QUICK LINKS:

“Send-Off” Celebration Photo Album

Event Media Coverage 


The honorees are:

  • Laurie LoMonaco: Living kidney donor to a stranger. Laurie will walk alongside the Donate Life Float.
  • Paul Guyette: Deceased organ donor, represented by his loving wife, Mary, and daughters.
  • Gaetano “Gates” Orlando: Heart transplant recipient — Paul Guyette was his donor. Gates will be riding on the Donate Life Float.

The floragraph created to depict Paul was displayed during the event. The floragraph will be one of 72 that will be used to decorate the Donate Life float.

The theme of the 126th Rose Parade is ‘Inspiring Stories.’ Tying in with that uplifting concept, the Donate Life float’s theme to promote organ, eye and tissue donation, is ‘The Never-Ending Story.’

Rob Kochik, Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network Executive Director, said, “The connection between Laurie, Paul and Gates can certainly be described as one that matches the theme of the ‘never-ending story.’ When Laurie decided to donate a kidney to a stranger, it so impressed Paul that he subsequently became a deceased donor. His wife, Mary, knew that Paul would want to save lives. His heart went to Gates, who was desperately waiting for a transplant.”

Mr. Kochik added: “These are heroic stories that undoubtedly inspire and amaze. When they hear about these incredible people, we hope other residents of New York State will decide to give the Gift of Life.”

One organ donor can save up to eight lives. Donation can also save or improve the lives of people who need corneas or tissues such as skin, heart valves and bone. New Yorkers wishing to save lives can do so by enrolling in the New York State Donate Life Registry.

 

“Send-off” Celebration Photo Album

Honorees at Rose Parade

From left: Gates Orlando, hockey legend and heart transplant recipient; Mary Guyette holding the floragraph of her husband Paul, who was Gates’s donor; and Laurie LoMonaco, a living kidney donor. The floragraph will be one of 72 to decorate the Donate Life float at the 2015 Rose Parade on Jan. 1.

Paul Guyette, Gates Orlando

Family members of deceased organ donor Paul Guyette. Gates Orlando, who received his new heart from Paul, displays a floragraph that depicts Paul.

Group of honorees for Rose Parade 2015

Included in this photo, from left, are Gates Orlando; Laurie LoMonaco; Paul Guyette’s daughters, Jenna and Emma, who are helping to create the floragraph; and Paul’s wife, Mary Guyette.

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“Send-Off” Celebration Media Coverage

The news conference and reception garnered a great deal of coverage in the media. Here are some examples:

  • ORGAN DONATION FOREVER LINKS FAMILIES — The Democrat and Chronicle wrote: “Laurie LoMonaco had been friends with Paul and Mary Guyette for more than 10 years. If they knew Gates Orlando, it was name only. Now they are linked through a story of organ donation that will be part of the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 1.” Read the complete D&C article.
  • TRIO’S ORGAN DONATION STORY CELEBRATED — WHAM-TV/Channel 13 (ABC Affiliate) stated: “The gift of life is priceless – especially to organ donors and recipients. …You can see their story, during the Tournament of Roses parade, January 1 on ABC.” Watch the video from WHAM-TV.
  • HOCKEY GREAT, ORGAN RECIPIENTS HEADING TO THE ROSE PARADE — Fox TV Rochester described it this way: “UR Medicine and the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network have touched the lives of countless people who have received or given organs through their services. We’re joined by a special group of people – each member with a moving story.” Watch the video from Fox Rochester.

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RELATED LINK: ROSE PARADE 2015 — Three-Way Connection of Living Kidney Donor, Deceased Donor and Organ Transplant Recipient to Be Honored

 

CBS-TV: Heart Transplant Recipients Healed by Love Get Hitched

December 5th, 2014 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network

Believe it or not: They live on Carefree Lane in in Cheektowaga, New York.

And believe it not, once more: Not only did Esther FitzRandolph and Danny Pszczolkowski get their heart transplants at University of Rochester Medical Center/Strong Memorial Hospital, they also fell in love, moved in together, and now have walked down the aisle!

When Esther was interviewed some months ago, she said she and Danny planned on participating in a commitment ceremony at the transplant hospital’s chapel — and that’s exactly what they did on November 29, 2014.

CBS News reporter, Steve Hartman, filed a report about Esther and Danny walking down the aisle. The news item about the couple was featured as part of Hartman’s “On the Road” series — and it aired on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.

Read the full story and see the VIDEO on the CBS website.

 

ROSE PARADE 2015: Three-Way Connection of Living Kidney Donor, Deceased Donor and Organ Transplant Recipient to Be Honored

November 14th, 2014 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network

Donate Life float rendering for Rose Parade on January 1, 2015.

A rendering of the 2015 Donate Life Rose Parade float. Its theme is ‘The Never-Ending Story.’

The theme of the 126th Rose Parade that will take place in Pasadena, California on January 1, 2015, is “Inspiring Stories.” Tying in with that uplifting concept, the Donate Life float’s theme to promote organ, eye and tissue donation, is “The Never-Ending Story.”

So it’s especially fitting that Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network and University of Rochester Medical Center/Strong Memorial Hospital will sponsor and honor three individuals from Rochester who were part of an awe-inspiring, hard to believe, three-way connection involving organ donation.

Laurie LoMonaco

Laurie LoMonaco

Living kidney donor Laurie LoMonaco will walk alongside the Donate Life float during the parade. She will be one of twelve living donors doing so on New Year’s Day in front of a worldwide television audience of millions.

Paul Guyette

Paul Guyette

Paul Guyette, a deceased organ donor, will be honored at the parade with a memorial floragraph — a portrait created with floral materials — that will adorn the float. Paul’s wife, Mary, who lovingly helped make the floragraph, will be in Pasadena for the parade. A total of 72 floragraphs will be displayed on the float.

Gates Orlando

Gates Orlando

Heart transplant recipient Gaetano “Gates” Orlando, a former Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Amerks hockey player and hockey coach, will join 29 other riders on the Donate Life float. Paul Guyette was his donor. (Read further to find out how this happened.) Gates is currently a talent scout for the New Jersey Devils.

Read the rest of this entry »

CBS-TV — Couple Mends Each Other’s Heart

October 19th, 2014 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network

After they got their new hearts at University of Rochester Medical Center/Strong Memorial Hospital, Esther FitzRandolph and Danny Pszczolkowski both suffered from complications and depression.

“I didn’t want to do anything,” said FitzRandolph. “I would just sit around.”

“I kind of refused the exercises and all that, at times,” said Pszczolkowski.

But a few months ago, both these patients started improving — dramatically.

What accelerated their recoveries? Romance!

Read the rest of this entry »

Pope Francis: Organ donation is a “testimony of love for our neighbor.”

October 11th, 2014 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network

The following story was reported by Independent Catholic News (ICN). Read the complete story that appeared on ICN’s website.

Pope Francis described the act of organ donation as ” testimony of love for our neighbor” when he met with the Transplantation Committee for the Council of Europe (CD-P-TO) who gathered in Rome on Thursday (October 9). The Pontiff’s comments came on the same day as the Catholic Church in England and Wales agreed to join the “fleshandblood” campaign as a national associate.

shutterstock_170215904 Pope Francis 11-17-14The fleshandblood campaign [in England] is the first national partnership of its kind between the National Health Service (NHS) and UK Churches, aiming to encourage church congregations to see blood and organ donation as a part of their community participation.

Read the rest of this entry »

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  • Facts About Organ Donation

    • If you are sick or injured and admitted to a hospital, the FIRST PRIORITY for emergency physicians and nurses is to SAVE YOUR LIFE, regardless of whether or not you have registered to be an organ donor.
    • Everyone waiting for a transplant is treated fairly and with respect. Objective medical criteria determine how donated organs are allocated to patients on the transplant waiting list.
    • All major religions approve of organ donation.
    • Check out "10 Facts About Organ Donation"
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