Transplant recipients meet, thank transplant unit personnel at UPMC Presbyterian
It's been nearly 16 years since Georgene Thomas was saved by a double lung and heart transplant, and eight years since she received a kidney transplant to keep her going.
On Wednesday, the Mt. Washington woman joined other transplant recipients to meet and thank some of the transplant unit personnel at UPMC Presbyterian, Oakland. The event was part of a monthlong effort to increase organ donations.
Thomas smiled broadly as she hugged and chatted with nurses and doctors. But her eyes welled with tears as she recalled the people who supplied her organs.
“They are God's angels, and I've been blessed by them,” said Thomas, 50, as she toured an intensive care unit. “But I am sad for the loss their families experienced.”
Registered nurse Michele Sebelia, who works in the transplant unit, said it means a great deal when transplant patients return to visit.
“When they're in this unit they are at their very worst,” Sebelia said. “So it's very fulfilling to have them come back to visit so we can see how wonderful they are doing.”
Amy Weisgerber of the Center for Organ Recovery and Education said Wednesday's event helps “put a face on transplantation.”
“We want to show that it's possible for people to have a transplant and then go back and lead a normal life,” Weisgerber said. “It also gives a lot of meaning to donor families, who can see that their loved one who gave this gift are responsible for such wonderful outcomes.”
On April 21, Melissa Bell, 37, of Ross will celebrate the seventh anniversary of the heart transplant she received to correct a birth defect.
After recovering from surgery, Bell became an active volunteer at UPMC and works to promote organ donation.
“I like to pay it forward by meeting with people who are waiting for a transplant and maybe don't know a lot about what they will be facing,” Bell said. “My hope is for people to look at me and realize that I would not be here if it wasn't for an organ donor and maybe consider becoming one.”
Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police charge Allentown teen for beating, holding ex-girlfriend at gunpoint
- Early success in White House race a pleasant surprise for Carson
- Kennywood fanatic, 82, rides Jack Rabbit 95 times in a row
- Memorial Day service in National Cemetery of the Alleghenies still growing
- Neighbor arrested after McKeesport house fire, authorities say
- 4 dogs found dead in Beechview home; woman charged
- Pa. gaming industry’s growth amplifies siren call for addicts
- Thrill of the chase: Kennywood fanatic, 82, rides Jack Rabbit 95 times in a row
- Journalist Burzynski found place in public relations, military
- Analyst says Pa. senate race leans toward Toomey — because Democrats ‘loathe’ Sestak
- Newsmaker: Rich Jones