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Versiti encourages signing organ donation registry during Donate Life Month as a gesture of hope in the face of crisis

Milwaukee – April 7, 2020

More than 1,800 Wisconsin patients await life-saving transplants

Nykia Julian of Milwaukee was told by doctors that she didn’t have long to live, until a heart transplant saved her life. During Donate Life Month this April, Versiti Organ and Tissue is honoring countless donors whose spirit lives on in others through the miracle of organ, tissue and eye donation.

Versiti is encouraging people to support their fellow community members during the COVID-19 outbreak by signing the registry and indicating their willingness to be organ, tissue and eye donors.

“Organ and tissue donation is among the greatest gifts one can give, said Colleen McCarthy, vice president of Versiti organ and tissue donation.  “In the face of crisis and separation which we’re all experiencing, the gesture of signing the registry can provide a feeling of hope and meaning and giving back to help others.” 

Approximately 1,800 Wisconsinites and 112,000 Americans are awaiting organ transplants and relying on the donations of others. Sadly, 22 people in the US die each day waiting for an organ donation. The shortage of organ donors persists because too few people have actually joined the organ donation registry, or discussed the issue with their families.

Organ donation saves Nykia’s life

In 2018, Nykia Julian’s heart was beginning to fail. “I was really sick,” she said. “I was at work and couldn’t breathe,” she said. “I couldn’t sleep. I just kept feeling my heart stop.”

Doctors told her that without a transplant, she did not have much longer to live.

Thanks to Dylan St. George, Nykia was given a second chance at life.

At 24, Dylan died unexpectedly. As a registered organ donor, five of his organs were donated to people who desperately needed them, including Nykia, who was able to receive her heart transplant. Since then, her life has completely changed. “I’m able to do a lot that I wasn’t able to do before. I’m able to travel, walk upstairs and walk further.”

A year later, Nykia was able to meet Dylan’s mom, Rachael, who was once again able to hear her son’s heart, beating inside a woman with whom she now has an unbreakable bond. “I hoped this day would come sometime and I’m grateful that it was able to happen,” Rachael said. “Even in his death, Dylan served a great purpose.”

Giving a second chance at life

Versiti Organ and Tissue is dedicated to saving and extending the lives of patients while caring for donor families. In 2019, Versiti Organ and Tissue facilitated 239 life-saving organ transplants.

You can make difference by:

  • Registering to become an organ, tissue and eye donor;
  • Join the Be The Match marrow donation registry;
  • Donate blood regularly through Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin;
  • Honor donors and donor families who have saved lives and improved the quality of life for others.

For more information and to join the registries, visit Versiti.org

About Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin

Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Milwaukee that specializes in blood services, esoteric diagnostic testing, organ, tissue and stem cell donation, medical services and leading-edge research. We advance patient care by delivering life-saving solutions grounded in unparalleled medical and scientific expertise. The collective efforts of Versiti affiliates result in improved patient outcomes, expanded access to care, and cost efficiencies for healthcare systems nationwide. For more information, visit versiti.org.

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