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A Tree of Life Grows in Riverside County
Written by ChaiTae Hasty-Rodriguez   
Monday, 29 September 2008 00:00

Families Remembered at Organ and Tissue Donor Dedication Ceremony

MORENO VALLEY, California, Wednesday, September 24, 2008 – Fourteen years ago, Riverside County Regional Medical Center (RCRMC) unveiled a unique memorial: a wood and bronze “Arbor Vitae” – Tree of Life – to honor organ and tissue donors. On Friday, October 3, 2008 at 4:00 p.m., the Tree will sprout 34 new bronze leaves to recognize organ and tissue donors from RCRMC in the past two years whose gifts have saved dozens of lives.

Nearly 160 donor family members, VIP’s, dignitaries and local community leaders will join together for the dedication, which will take place in RCRMC’s Medical Mall. The event is co-hosted by OneLegacy, the organ recovery agency for the seven counties in Southern California, including Riverside County.

“Riverside County Regional Medical Center is proud to partner with OneLegacy in honoring donor families for their giving and saving of lives of patients on the organ transplant waiting list who otherwise might not have a chance to live,” said Douglas Bagley, RCRMC chief executive officer. “This is a privilege for RCRMC because the true heroes in this partnership are our donor families who, in the wake of personal tragedy, have made a choice to share a ray of happiness and hope of life with others.”

One such donor who will be honored on October 3rd is Anthony Lopez, a 27 year old organ donor who saved four lives after his passing in 2006. His mother, Dawn Lopez of Perris (CA), noted that “It’s great that Anthony’s not forgotten, that he’s being remembered this way. It’s heartwarming to know he saved others.”

Another remembrance will go to Marvin LeFridge, who became a tissue donor in 2006, at the age of 37. Donated tissue can be used to increase burn survival, to replace or strengthen damaged joint tissue, or prevent amputation.

“His donation means so much; there’s still a part of him here, he’s still helping others. That’s the kind of person Marvin was and I know it’s what he wanted.” said his mother, Lois LeFridge of Moreno Valley (CA). “This ceremony means so much to our family, to be able to show Marvin’s children, two teenagers and a two year old who was born after Marvin died, about the legacy that Marvin has left.”

That desire to help in a way no one else can is inherent in the donation decision. It is also the mission of OneLegacy and its partners to honor their unique gift.

“OneLegacy will always be grateful to these donors and their families for their courageous and generous decision to donate,” said Jeff Fleming, OneLegacy director of family services. “It is our privilege to support donor families and continue to find ways like RCRMC’s Arbor Vitae to honor donors and their families for their extraordinary gifts, and to support hospitals for their compassionate care.”

When the October 3rd dedication concludes, RCRMC's unique Arbor Vitae will boast a total of 80 leaves. The monument will serve as an inspiration to those in a position to help the 92,000 people nationwide currently awaiting a life-saving organ transplant and the hundreds of thousands that need donated tissue each year.

Since 1893, RCRMC (formerly known as Riverside General Hospital) has served as a vital resource to the residents of Riverside County, providing the highest standard of health care.

As a Level II Trauma Center for adults and pediatrics, RCRMC receives nearly half of the county’s trauma patients; provides over half of the uninsured healthcare for the county and provides a variety of specialty care with over seventy clinics to treat inpatients and out-patients.
As a teaching facility, RCRMC offers a full range of medical education, thereby producing trained physicians, nurses and allied health professionals.

RCRMC’s commitment to providing high quality healthcare has remained constant. Countless people have turned to RCRMC in times of medical need. In providing these vital services, RCRMC has continued to set the standard for compassionate, professional health care.
Since 1977, OneLegacy has served as the bridge between donors and patients awaiting life-saving transplants. OneLegacy serves 19 million residents in the seven-county greater Los Angeles area and is the primary source of information regarding organ and tissue donation and transplantation in Southern California.

Those wishing to make the commitment to donate may register online at www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org or its Spanish-language counterpart, www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org. For more information, call OneLegacy at (800) 7864077 or visit www.onelegacy.org

For more Information on our RCRMC, contact the Public Relations Office at RCRMC at 951-486-4213 or visit our website www.rcrmc.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: ChaiTae Hasty-Rodriguez
Public Relations Office Monday, September 29, 2008
(951) 486-4213
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