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