Donate Life Arizona’s ECHO Breakfast Fills The Yard in Tempe with Inspiration

Posted By on July 23, 2018

By Lynette Carrington

More than 100 luncheon attendees of the Donate Life Arizona’s ECHO Breakfast were greeted with the lively sounds of Los Changuitos Feos de Tucson — an all under-18 mariachi group that entertained guests and served as an important tie-in to the cause.

The event was held earlier this month at The Yard in Tempe.

Victoria Arias had been a member of Los Changuitos Feos de Tucson before she passed away in a drowning accident and ultimately became an organ donor. Her parents, Mike and Lorena Arias gave a moving speech to the group about the importance of organ donation and how Victoria lives on through others. They also announced the Victoria Teresa Arias Memorial Foundation established in her honor to provide college scholarship funding for chosen students.

Media relations coordinator for Donor Network of Arizona, Nico Santos emceed the event and served as moderator for the multicultural panel that assembled to talk about a wide range of issues impacting the organ donation community.

Panelists included Amar Atma Khalsa, staff chaplain at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix, Dr. Bridget B. Stiegler, CO, hospice and palliative care at Northern Arizona Healthcare, Dr. Dana Jamison, MD, orthopedic surgeon atSouthwest Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Marta Godoy-Cedano, donation and family advocate for Donor Network of Arizona and Ryan Nelson, tissue recovery supervisor for Donor Network of Arizona.

Compatibility expert, Abdur Rahman, the director of immunogenetics laboratory at Donor Network of Arizona gave an informative speech and donor recipient and mother of a donor, Norian Reese gave a heartfelt testimonial and sang “Remember Me,” the hit song from the film, “Coco.” It was a fitting song that fit that sentiment of the mission of Donate Life Arizona.

“I work in the field of generosity,” said director of donor family and advocate services at the Donor Network of Arizona Marcel Pincine. “We stay in contact with our families for years.” He enjoys working with his team in talking to and embracing donor families and the importance of their generosity. “For us, this is about human connection. Donation and transplantation only happen when one human being gives a gift to another human being.”

More than 50 percent of Arizonans have registered as organ and tissue donors and just one organ and tissue donor can save and heal 50 lives. In Arizona in 2017, there were 276 organ donations — the most ever in a year, to date.

  • Amar Atma Khalsa (left), a Sikh chaplain at Banner—University Medical Center Phoenix, and Marta Godoy-Cedano (right), a donor family advocate with Donor Network of Arizona.
  • Donate Life Arizona volunteers Mark Larson (kidney recipient), Betty Day (kidney recipient), Olivia Tallabas (living kidney donor) and Cesar Alvarez (liver recipient).
  • Donor Network of Arizona media relations coordinator and ECHO Luncheon emcee Nico Santos (middle), Raquel Estupiñán (left) and ABC15 Arizona anchor Allison Rodriguez (right).
  • Dr. Dana Jamison (right), who was a part of a panel Q&A session at the ECHO Luncheon, and her husband and living kidney donor Alexander Jamison (left).
  • Irene Marra, Donate Life Arizona volunteer and double-lung recipient, won an Amazon Echo speaker as a raffle prize at the ECHO Luncheon.
  • Keely Hanson (left) and Eladio Salazar (right) donor program development coordinators with Donor Network of Arizona.
  • Los Changuitos Feos de Tucson, a mariachi group with a musician as young as 10-years old, entertained the crowd and honored Victoria Arias, a donor and former member of the group
  • Mike and Lorena Arias shared with the audience how the gifts of life their daughter gave inspired them to start a scholarship foundation in her honor.
  • Mike and Lorena Arias, donor parents to Victoria Arias, spoke at the ECHO Luncheon one day shy of the anniversary of their daughter’s passing
  • More than 100 people heard stories of lifesaving donors and organ recipients who got a second chance at life, moderated by Nico Santos, media relations coordinator with Donor Network of Arizona
  • Norian Reese (left) knows the full circle of donation as a recipient and a donor mother. She shared her powerful story as her husband Samuel Reese (middle) and La’Vonta Bentley (right).
Lynette Carrington

About Lynette Carrington

Lynette Carrington is an Arizona native with a robust background in public relations, marketing, business communications and business ownership. She has been an ongoing and frequent contributor to dozens of local, national and international publications and websites since 2004, with more than 15,000 published articles. She loves being a part of Frontdoors Media as a multimedia storyteller. She enjoys shining a spotlight on philanthropy and the engaging people who do wonderful things in the world of nonprofits.

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