LifeLink Georgia Director of Hospital Development Kim Kottemann exchanges a rose and a certificate with Southern Regional Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Jim Crissey Wednesday. Southern Regional became the first hospital in the state to donate a rose vial to LifeLink Georgia as part of a new campaign to help fill the national organ donor float in the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)
RIVERDALE — Southern Regional Medical Center will have a tiny presence in the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., but it’s unlikely it will be seen by most people.
The hospital is participating in a nationwide effort to decorate the Donate Life America organ donation float for the parade. Hospitals across the county are decorating the float by donating tiny glass vials with messages attached to hold the roses that will be used to make a dedication garden on the float.
Southern Regional Chief Executive Officer Jim Crissey gave the hospital’s vial to Kim Kottemann, director of hospital development for LifeLink Georgia Wednesday. LifeLink Georgia handles Donate Life America’s efforts in the state.
“What we leave this world is a portion of our being so others may live,” said Crissey as he read the message he wrote on the vial to Kottemann.
“Nice,” said Kottemann.
Southern Regional is the first hospital in Georgia to donate a vial for the float, said Kottemann. As a result, she told Crissey she planned to read it aloud at LifeLink Georgia’s advisory board meeting Wednesday night. She also gave Crissey a certificate of appreciation from the group in recognition of the donation.
The 2014 organ donation float marks the 11th year that Donate Life America has had a float in the New Years Day parade to raise awareness about the need for organ and tissue donors. The theme for the float is “Light Up The World” and Kottemann said the dedication garden, where Southern Regional’s vial will be used, is one part of the float.
“That’s all filled with personal messages from families, recipients, hospital CEOs, OPO [Organ Procurement Organization] representatives and anyone else involved in the donation community,” said Kottemann.
She added the campaign will include messages from hospital CEOs across the nation is a new effort this year.
But despite it being a new effort, it didn’t really take much to get Southern Regional on board. The hospital has worked with LifeLink Georgia for about a quarter of a century to make sure patients across the state can get organ and tissue transplants when they are needed, said Crissey.
During that time, the hospital has seen 60 organ donations and 90 tissue donations.
While those may sound like small figures, Kottemann said one organ donation can help eight people and a tissue donation can help 50 people. Based on those figures, as many as 4,980 people across Georgia have been helped by organ and tissue donations originating out of Southern Regional.
Crissey said the hospital chose to participate in the dedication garden out of a moral duty, as a health care provider, to raise awareness of the need for organ and tissue donations.
“I think we all have a moral responsibility to care for the well-being and lives of others,” said Crissey. “And through organ and tissue donations, what better way to leave a legacy as a hospital than to support a program like this.”