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Three Ways to Donate Life

Posted by | Posted in ALMH, Memorial Medical Center, Passavant Area Hospital, Transplant | Posted on 07-04-2016

DONATE LIFE – organ donation call from Doctor

In the United States, nearly 124,000 adults and children await an organ transplant—more than 5,000 in Illinois alone. In April, National Donate Life Month, please consider these steps to significantly impact the lives of others from Sara Danner, transplant financial coordinator at the Alan G. Birtch, MD, Center for Transplant Services at Memorial Medical Center. Read the rest of this entry »

Transplants Gave Him his ‘Greatest Blessings’

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Medical Center, Testimonial, Transplant | Posted on 01-09-2015

Greg and Joleen

Greg and Joleen

You don’t have to persuade Joleen Hoff about the importance of kidney transplants. Without her first husband’s two transplants, he would never have seen his daughter and then his three granddaughters.

“Transplantation allowed Greg the greatest blessings in his life— to be a father and a grandfather,” Joleen said. “He got his whole life back.”

Joleen will lead a team at the annual Transplant 5K Run/Walk on Sept. 19 in Springfield in memory of Greg Oest, who died May 15, 2012, while on the transplant list for a third kidney. The couple were high-school sweethearts who had been married for 33 years. Read the rest of this entry »

Patient Celebrates the End of 13 Years of Dialysis with MMC’s 900th Organ Transplant

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Medical Center, Testimonial, Transplant | Posted on 06-07-2015

Tandra Perkins

Tandra Perkins

For the first time in nearly 13 years, Tandra Perkins of Urbana woke up and didn’t have to think about dialysis. It had been her routine three times a week, four hours at a time.

On June 10, the 44-year-old became the 900th patient to receive an organ transplant from The Alan G. Birtch, MD, Center for Transplant Services at Memorial Medical Center. The transplant program is a cooperative initiative between MMC, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and Springfield Clinic.

“This milestone is another reminder of our privilege to be involved with a program that serves the needs of so many throughout central and southern Illinois,” said Marc Garfinkel, MD, surgical director of the transplant program and an associate professor with the SIU School of Medicine’s division of general surgery. “And now we’re looking forward to our 1,000th patient.” Read the rest of this entry »

Busting the Top Three Myths about Kidney Transplants

Posted by | Posted in Transplant | Posted on 16-04-2014

GHSH Website Question Homepage Banner Transplant 961 x 300Nearly 103,000 people are awaiting a lifesaving kidney transplant nationwide. Every 10 minutes, another name is added to the national transplant waiting list. And, still, myths persist about kidney transplants. We asked the Memorial Transplant Services team to debunk some of the more common myths surrounding kidney transplants and donation. Read the rest of this entry »

SIU’s Hand Transplant Program: “Now, We are Going to Restore Some Lives”

Posted by | Posted in Foundation, Transplant, Videos | Posted on 08-04-2014

Hand Youtube ThumbnailPhysicians with the Institute for Plastic Surgery at Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine are searching for the first candidate for the school’s newly launched hand transplant program – the first of its kind in Illinois.

Between 6,000 and 10,000 upper extremity amputations occur each year in the United States. More than 1,200 soldiers have lost a limb as a result of explosions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Check out the brief video below to learn more about the program. Read the rest of this entry »

A Rare Double Birthday Gift – a Kidney and a Pancreas

Posted by | Posted in Transplant | Posted on 19-09-2013

TammyWhen Tammy Smith, a 48-year-old Dalton City resident, was diagnosed with diabetes at age 14, doctors weren’t certain what might have caused her illness.

“I remember the doctors were a little vague,” Tammy said. “I was told my diabetes could have been caused by a virus, or even a type of immune deficiency disease. It was just something I had to deal with.”

Fast forward about 30 years. Tammy grew up, married and had four children, one of whom passed away in childhood. She went through a divorce, then married a man with four boys of his own. Together, they raised their combined family in a little house in Dalton City. Everything seemed normal.  

But then, Tammy’s normal life was turned upside down. Read the rest of this entry »

90 Miles for Transplant Awareness

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Medical Center, Transplant | Posted on 27-08-2013

Transplant 5K Photo StuckeyHis entire life changed overnight. Twice.

“We had company coming over for the weekend, and I asked if this couldn’t wait until Monday. My doctor said if you wait until Monday, you’ll probably be dead.”

Don Stuckey, 59, of Beecher City, a small community southeast of Springfield, remembers those words as if they were yesterday instead of three years ago.

“I was having trouble sleeping,” Don recalled. “I was up and down a lot at night, but I figured that was just old age. One week, I only slept about four hours the entire week. I went to the doctor and asked for some sleeping pills. He said OK, but told me to have a blood test before I left.”

“That was a Thursday,” Don said. “The next morning the doctor called to say something was wrong with my test and to come back in for another blood test. Early that afternoon, I got another call and was told to get to the hospital immediately.” Read the rest of this entry »

Kidney Transplants: Know the Facts Infographic

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Medical Center, Transplant | Posted on 10-07-2013

Transplant Infographic 2013How often do we hear numbers associated with a concept so incredible we can hardly fully comprehend the weight of what those numbers truly mean?

Numbers like 103,000 people waiting for a kidney; 1,219 days to wait for a kidney; 840 transplant surgeries.

Each one of these numbers, and those shown in the infographic below, is more than just a number; it’s a reminder that a person is waiting for a chance at a normal life again. Each number represents a person patiently waiting for the phone call that they have a match, or a family wanting to enjoy life with their loved one again, or a mother or father needing to be actively present for their child. Memorial Medical Center Transplant Services makes that difference in the lives of these people every year.

As you read through these numbers, remember that these numbers represent real life–people who are patiently waiting, generous donors who so unselfishly give life to another, and talented surgeons who can restore quality of life.


Read the rest of this entry »

The Gift of Life

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Medical Center, Testimonial, Transplant | Posted on 16-04-2013


Billy Ruyle, Transplant Recipient

When Billy Ruyle could not sign his name at work or even grasp the pen, he realized he had a problem that was bigger than just a cold.

Billy grew up in a small town, just south of Springfield. After high school, Billy married “the most amazing wife” and together they had three boys and one girl and now have lots of grandkids. He worked as a full-time truck driver until just a few years ago when he took a part-time job hauling beans in Waverly.

“There is a lot of dust when you haul beans. At first, I thought I caught some sort of cold from the dust, and I just kept getting weaker and weaker,” he said. “I should have stopped working right then, but I didn’t because there was a job to finish.”

“When I got home later that day, I told my wife what had happened and we knew then something was seriously wrong.” Read the rest of this entry »

Runners, Walkers Raise $9,000 for Annual 5K to Benefit Transplant Services

Posted by | Posted in Transplant | Posted on 13-09-2012

"Team Greg Oest" Team Captain is Joleen Oest (wife of Greg), sitting on rock with kids on lap. They raised over $600!

Bolstered by a record-setting 501 people registered, the annual 5K run/walk to benefit the Alan G. Birtch, MD, Center for Transplant Services at Memorial raised nearly $9,000 last Saturday.

The eighth annual event was held in Springfield’s Washington Park on Sept. 8. Bill Coon, a double heart transplant and kidney transplant recipient, shared his inspiring story before the event began. A local band, The Fireside Relics, kept the mood festive.

“Once again, the community has so generously shown their support for our transplant program,” said Sara Danner, Memorial’s transplant financial coordinator and chair of this year’s 5K. “This year was another successful event with beautiful weather and a very large crowd.” Read the rest of this entry »