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VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center raises flag for National Donate Life Month

The Donate Life flag rose for the first time this morning. It will remain up throughout the month and after April it will be raised whenever an organ donation occurs at VCU Health and the Hume-Lee Transplant Center from a living or deceased donor. Photo by Tom Kojcsich, University Marketing.
The Donate Life flag rose for the first time this morning. It will remain up throughout the month and after April it will be raised whenever an organ donation occurs at VCU Health and the Hume-Lee Transplant Center from a living or deceased donor. Photo by Tom Kojcsich, University Marketing.

In recognition of National Donate Life Month in April, the VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center hosted a ceremony today marking the raising of a flag outside VCU Medical Center. The white, blue and green flag, which is adorned with the Donate Life logo, will fly throughout the month. After April, the flag will be raised whenever an organ donation occurs at VCU Health and the Hume-Lee Transplant Center from a living or deceased donor. Starting in May, whenever the flag is raised outside of VCU Medical Center, the digital billboards on Interstate 64 will also change to notify the community of an organ donation.    

Hume-Lee Transplant Center Director Marlon Levy, M.D., and United Network for Organ Sharing CEO Brian Shepard attended the event, along with approximately 75 people from VCU Health and the Richmond community.

“We are really here to celebrate true acts of heroism and selflessness on the part of organ donors and their families,” Levy said to the crowd, which included many people who had donated organs in the past. “It is important to VCU and it is important to Richmond, which has such a story to tell in transplantation.”

Transplant recipients, living donors and donor families attended the flag-raising event at the VCU McGlothlin Medical Education Center on Friday morning. Transplant community professionals from UNOS, Donate Life America and LifeNet Health were in attendance as well. Photo by Tom Kojcsich, University Marketing.
Transplant recipients, living donors and donor families attended the flag-raising event at the VCU McGlothlin Medical Education Center on Friday morning. Transplant community professionals from UNOS, Donate Life America and LifeNet Health were in attendance as well. Photo by Tom Kojcsich, University Marketing.

Physicians at VCU performed the first human kidney and liver transplants in Virginia’s history, and the Hume-Lee Transplant Center is now one of the leading transplant programs in the U.S.

Donate Life America established National Donate Life Month in an effort to spearhead local, regional and national activities that encourage Americans to register as organ donors. The month is also an opportunity to celebrate the lives of those who have provided the gift of organ donation.

According to Donate Life America, nearly 124,000 men, women and children are awaiting organ transplants in the United States, including 3,200 Virginians.

“Today is the first day of Donate Life Month, but for us every day is donate life day,” Shepard said. “We look forward to the work that we will continue to do to transform lives all over this country and especially right here in Virginia.”

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 225 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Seventy-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The VCU Health brand represents the health sciences schools of VCU, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit www.vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.