Donate Life Flag Raising at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare

Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare (FSLH) and St. Elizabeth Medical Center raised the Donate Life Flag to honor Kathleen Warzala, FSLH’s most recent organ, tissue and cornea donor, to promote awareness of the importance of registering as a donor and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation. (Pictured from left to right) Stephen M. Warzala, Kathleen’s husband; Carol M. Fuchs, Kathleen’s mother; Stephen J. Warzala and Jennifer W. Graham, Kathleen’s children; and John Weakley, heart transplant recipient and greeter at FSLH.
Media Contact: 
Caitlin McCann
Communications Specialist
(315) 624-5433
cmccann@mvnhealth.com
Release Date: 
Apr 29, 2014

On Monday, April 28, 2014, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare (FSLH) and St. Elizabeth Medical Center raised the Donate Life Flag to honor Kathleen Warzala, FSLH’s most recent organ, tissue and cornea donor, to promote awareness of the importance of registering as a donor and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation. The Warzala Family assisted in the raising of the flag in memory of Kathleen.

“We miss Kathleen more than words can say, but we are thankful that she was able to help others through her donation,” said Stephen Warzala, Kathleen’s husband. “Creating awareness about the need for organ, tissue and cornea donation is extremely important. We hope that this flag raising will help others see the importance of becoming a donor.”

There are more than 100,000 patients currently waiting for a life-saving transplant in the United States. According to the Donate Life America’s National Donor Designation Report Card, New York ranks 48th among the 50 states for the total number of designated donors as a percentage of all state residents.

“Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare has been very active in promoting donation awareness,” said Donna A. Sickler, BSN, RN, Quality professional and organ procurement liaison at FSLH. “Last year, the hospital achieved the highest level of federal recognition (Gold) possible in the Workplace Partnership for Life Challenge sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In order to increase registration/donation awareness, FSLH created a Memorial Donor Garden and hosted a community awareness night, regularly holds registry drives and provides donation information during the annual hospital-wide employee health/benefits fair. FSLH also supports the Center for Donation and Transplant (CDT) in other local initiatives such as training staff at the local DMV and raising awareness through booths at the Heart Run/Walk and Boilermaker Expos.”

The staff at FSLH supports the goals of the CDT, so much so that Mary Lynch, a registered nurse in the Critical Care Unit at FSLH, was nominated for the Donate Life Healthcare Champion Award earlier this year. This award is given to one individual who has demonstrated exceptional support of donation at their hospital and in their community. Recipients of the award help to create a culture of donation at their hospital, work collaboratively with CDT staff, educate their colleagues and support the patients and/or families that they work with.  

“Mary was nominated for this award because of her valuable contributions in several past donation cases,” said Andrew Sigond, Hospital and Community Services specialist with the CDT. “She was nominated both by a colleague at FSLH and by several CDT staff members. In collaborating with CDT and working with bereaved families, Mary has displayed truly incredible talents! These skills have been an inspiration to her fellow healthcare staff, and she is such an incredible force for the CDT staff. It’s an honor and pleasure working with her.”

Individuals who are interested in organ, tissue and cornea donation can enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry by visiting www.nyhealth.gov.