Lifeline of Ohio ‘Champion’ Honors Legacies Through Organ Donation at OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital
Eighteen individuals and institutions were honored for their part in saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation at a Lifeline of Ohio event called the “Champions of Hope Gala.”
“Grady won this award because of the work that was put into preparing the unit, the family, and staff during an organ procurement process,” OhioHealth Grady Memorial Administrative Nurse Manager, Angela Harvey, says, “We were able to arrange for organ procurement on a Sunday; I was able to organize a donor walk that involved the entire hospital and patient visitors.”
There is a strategic plan in place at Grady to help with all donation processes. The associates complete a scale that shows if a patient could be a potential donor based on the situation they are in during admission or they have an event coming into the emergency room that will prevent them from sustaining their life.
The nurse administrator then calls the donor line to present the potential patient; Lifeline staff screen the patient in the background and if the patient could be a donor, they will approach the family for potential donation; once it is determined if the patient can be a donor. From there, Lifeline works with the staff to coordinate the care of the patient and help to procure their organs, tissue and or corneas.
“When I see or hear that someone has made the decision to be an organ, tissue and eye donor it reminds me that someone else's life will be saved to live another day; it makes me sad for the family that will mourn their loved one but happy they made the decision of organ donation,” Harvey said.
Navigating organ donation is one of the most challenging experiences a family member can face. Cindy Kuba experienced this process firsthand and dispels the misconception that medical professionals may not exhaust every effort if they are aware of an individual’s organ donor status.
“They really try everything they can to save you before that decision is even made,” she said.
Cindy’s daughter, Betsy, a 23-year-old who had just graduated with a degree in psychology and started training to work with disabled adults, suffered a tragic brain aneurysm at home. Her passing led to a decision by her family to honor her wish of organ donation through Lifeline of Ohio.
“Why not donate and save someone's life?” said Cindy. “And if it's a family member that passes, you can know they're your loved ones still living on through someone else and you'll have a connection there.”
Betsy saved four lives by donating both kidneys, pancreas, and a severed liver that went to two different recipients. And her legacy lives on in a very special way.
“My daughter’s full name is Elizabeth Ann,” said Cindy, “After she passed away, part of her liver went to a girl in Cincinnati that was eight months old. That little girl’s name was also Elizabeth Ann.”
Now twenty years old, recipient Elizabeth Ann Hericks still maintains a connection with the Kuba family.
“It gives me goosebumps every time,” said Cindy. “It's just a comfort to know that there's a part of her still here.”
After Betsy’s passing, Cindy and her family became Lifeline of Ohio volunteers, ensuring Betsy's memory lives on through events like candlelight vigils and the Christmas tree lighting. Cindy also gives back in her role as a host at Grady Memorial Hospital, bringing meals to patients and offering a listening ear to those who need it.
To learn more about Lifeline of Ohio, click here.