UAB’s Patterson dedicates rose to be part of the 2017 Donate Life Parade Float

The Donate Life Parade Float honors donors, recipients and others who have been touched by organ, eye and tissue donation.

anthony patterson“This year’s theme really is a reminder that, even though the Alabama Organ Center and UAB Hospital are separate entities, we really are one united network,” said UAB Senior Vice President of Inpatient Services Anthony Patterson.Anthony Patterson, senior vice president of Inpatient Services at UAB Medicine, has handwritten his annual rose dedication to be placed on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float Dedication Garden. The unique, personal message of love, hope and remembrance from Patterson honors Alabama donors, recipients and others who have been touched by organ, eye and tissue donation and will be a part of the 2017 Rose Parade will be held Monday, Jan. 2, 2017.

UAB Hospital and the Alabama Organ Center, Alabama’s nonprofit organ and tissue recovery agency, work together to provide Alabamians a successful organ and tissue donation program to help those in need of transplants. In an effort to increase the number of organs recovered for transplant, the AOC opened a new Donor Recovery Center earlier this year — one of only eight procurement organizations in the country to have an in-house recovery center, and the only one in the country connected to an academic medical center the size of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Patterson says UAB always appreciates the opportunity to be included by the AOC in the annual Rose Parade float. This year’s float entry, “Teammates in Life,” reflects the parade’s theme, “Echoes of Success,” which is a reminder that no one succeeds alone, and success is best achieved by working together to pull in the same direction.

“This year’s theme really is a reminder that, even though the Alabama Organ Center and UAB Hospital are separate entities, we really are one united network,” Patterson said. “That unique and special relationship enables both of us to really be an effective work unit to support patients who need transplants within our community and state. It’s an honor to operate side by side with the AOC, which works so closely with these wonderful donor families. These donors and their families make it possible to save the lives of Alabamians every day.”

Twenty-five organ donors have donated 69 organs that have been recovered and transplanted at UAB this year. Twenty-one donors also donated tissue which has the potential to enhance the quality of life for up to 75 people each — a potential impact to 1,575 people.

The 2017 Teammates in Life float depicts a spectacular Polynesian catamaran, which will be propelled by a team of 24 organ, eye and tissue transplant recipients rowing in unison with strength gained from their donors. The sails of the vessel will feature 60 floral portraits of donors interwoven with Polynesian designs and patterns.

patterson meeksPatterson and Executive Director of the Alabama Organ Center Chris Meeks.Just as the donor’s gifts empower the lives of others, the sails help power the catamaran on its journey. Twelve living donors will walk alongside the float carrying flowers in celebration of the life they have given to others and the quality of life they continue to enjoy themselves. The ocean waves will showcase 1,000 white Akito roses, individually dedicated in memory or honor of those touched by donation. Vibrant birds perch among a lush landscape of tropical flowers and palm trees while a pair of tikis, representing lights and life, abundance and peace, peer out of the jungle. The float will exude life with colorful, exotic blooms grown in Hawaii especially for the occasion.

“The Rose Parade gives the organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation community an opportunity to come together as a team to inspire millions of viewers to support their fellow Americans by registering as donors,” said Chris Meeks, executive director of the Alabama Organ Center. “There is a clear symbolic association between the team effort needed to propel the catamaran and the selflessness of deceased donors and their families providing lifesaving and life-enhancing gifts to grateful recipients. The rose dedicated by UAB represents its ongoing support of organ, eye and tissue donation. Donation and transplantation is truly a team effort, and the 2017 float conveys that beautifully.”

Today, more than 123,000 candidates are on the national organ transplant waiting list, with nearly 3,200 waiting in Alabama. Due largely to the rarity of donation opportunities, only about 30,000 organs are transplanted each year in the United States. As a result, 22 candidates die each day for lack of a donor. A single organ donor can save the lives of eight people, while a single tissue donor can save and heal 50 others through needed heart valves, corneas, skin, bone, and tendons that mend hearts, prevent or cure blindness, heal burns, and save limbs.

Visit www.alabamaorgancenter.org for more information, or to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor.

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