IOWA NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION
Double-lung and Kidney Recipient to Speak at Mercy – North Iowa in Honor of National Donate Life Month
Mason City, IA – April is National Donate Life Month. Each year during the month of April, local, state, and national events encourage Americans to register to become organ, tissue, and eye donors as well as honor those that have given the gift of life to others. Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa is raising awareness through flying the Donate Life flag through the month of April as well as hosting a Donate Life Event, “Honoring Our Heroes.”
Steve Ferkau, double-lung and kidney recipient, will be speaking at the event which will take place on Thursday, April 24th, 2014 from noon to 1pm in the hospital’s auditorium.
Steve was born with cystic fibrosis, an inherited and chronic disease that affects many organ systems but particularly the lungs. Without a transplant, the average life expectancy for someone with cystic fibrosis is 40. In September 1997, Steve was listed with the United Network of Organ Sharing, the non-profit organization that has the federal contract to manage the United States’ organ transplant system. At that time, Steve’s lung capacity was 10% and he required oxygen 24 hours a day.
Steve waited three years before a donor lung match was found for him. He received his gift of life on April 8th, 2000.
His lung donor, Kari, was just 17 when her parents were faced with making a difficult decision. But Kari had already helped them with that decision. She had told her family just a few weeks prior that she couldn’t understand why someone would not want to help someone else when they were through with life here. Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa facilitated Kari’s donation that saved Steve’s life.
Today, Steve still remembers Kari everyday. Each April, he and his hustle team, Kari’s Klimbers “Hustle up the Hancock” in honor of Kari. Prior to his transplant, walking up the stairs was impossible for Steve. But with 94 floors and 1,622 stairs, Steve is able to make the climb. “Every time I get to the top, I smile, because I know who got me there.”
To register to become an organ, tissue, and eye donor visit www.IowaDonorRegistry.org or call (800) 831-4131.
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Based in North Liberty, Iowa Donor Network is the fully accredited and federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) serving Iowa. Certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, IDN coordinates with health care professionals, funeral directors and others involved in the donation process. IDN also works with donor families before, during and after donation, to educate, support, and help families work through their grief. For more information, log on to www.IowaDonorNetwork.org, or call (800) 831-4131.
Iowa Donor Network