Friday, April 29, 2011

The Intimidator's 60th

Austin Dillon (left) and myself
Back on April 21st, I had the privilege of meeting and getting the autograph of Austin Dillon at Bass Pro Shops in Nashville. Austin drives The Richard Childress owned Black #3 Chevrolet truck in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). The truck is sponsored by Bass Pro, Realtree, and Tracker Boats. It bears a strong resemblance to the Black #3 Chevrolet once driven by Dale Earnhardt which was also owned by Richard Childress. The only differences are the Realtree camo around the bottom of the truck (versus a silver stripe on Dale's car) and the primary sponsors (Bass Pro / Tracker Boats versus Goodwrench Service on Dale's car).

Austin won two races in 2010, finished fifth in points, and won the Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award. He is currently sixth in the 2011 standings. He's a nice guy who enjoys what he's doing, and I couldn't resist the temptation to ask him about what it's like having Richard Childress as a grandfather. He simply said, "I couldn't ask for a better one." Childress is a guy I hope to get a chance to meet some day, too. I'd really like to ask him about Earnhardt since I never got to meet him.

Ausitn Dillon's Black #3 at Bass Pro Shops
Today would be Dale Earnhardt's 60th birthday if he were still with us. He loved racing and the outdoors, so I think he would approve of the look and sponsorship of Austin's truck. I think it would generate one of those big Earnhardt grins as he peered at it through his trademark mirrored sunglasses.
NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt, taken by offic...Image via by Darryl Moran on Wikipedia

Dale was the biggest ambassador the sport he loved ever had. He believed in doing what was best for NASCAR and it's fans. So, I think he would also be glad that the #3 is back on the track. It's good for the sport.

Happy 60th Dale. We miss ya, dude.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New lung transplant procedure could save lives

There are currently about 1800 Americans on the waiting list for a lung transplant. Lung transplants can be one of the hardest to come by because lungs are very delicate often being damaged during the final stages of life. Since nearly 85% of lungs recovered for transplant are ultimately not transplanted because of such damage, doctors have been looking for a way to "repair" such damage so that more of the available donated lungs can be used to save lives. It appears they may have found it.

Recently, researchers conducted a study on 23 sets of lungs available for transplant that were damaged in some way and would normally be rejected and not transplanted. Techniques including perfusion were used to repair these damaged lungs which ultimately resulted in 20 of the sets being used for transplant. After a month, the rate of deaths, successes, and complications was basically the same for recipients within the "repair" group as it was with recipients outside the study group who received healthy lungs which didn't need repairing before transplant. In other words, the recipients receiving "fixed" lungs did as well as the ones receiving "good" lungs. These results have been described as, "The most exciting advance in lung transplantation since we first started 25 years ago." Furthermore, there are indications that such repair techniques could also be used for livers, hearts, and other organs.

I felt like this was a great article for wrapping up my Donate Life Month blog posts because it contains great news for not only Americans needing transplants but also for people needing such surgeries all across the globe. These new techniques have the potential to save countless lives in the years to come because they will help doctors get the most out of a valuable, scarce resource. It will give spouses, fishing buddies, golfing buddies, siblings, and families everywhere extra years together. It's a win for everyone.

As I said, this is great news. However, in order for doctors to save lives, even with these new repair techniques, it requires donors. If you haven't done so yet, I want to encourage you to register as an organ and tissue donor. You can give someone in need the gift of life. I was blessed that it was done for me over four years ago. You can get more information and learn how to register by clicking on the National Donate Life Month banner at the top of this article. Do it today.

Source : article titled Lungs Can Be Fixed Before Transplantation, Study Finds  

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The New Jersey Miracle

Back in February, medical staff in the transplant unit at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey completed a kidney transplant chain involving 16 people over a period of three days. An anonymous donor started the chain that saved eight lives with eight kidney transplants. During a reunion of 15 of the 16 people involved back on April 21st, only the anonymous donor was missing, it was reported that all of the recipients are doing well.

Many of the people in the chain who needed transplants had spouses who were willing to donate. However, their spouses were not compatible matches, so a complicated and lengthy process began to match stranger to stranger. Eventually, a viable match was found for all eight who needed a life-saving kidney transplant. Medical staff had to match blood types, antibodies, and tissue types within a computer data base to map out all the exchanges. Amazingly, in this age of technology, they even used a simple chalkboard to keep track of which kidney went where. Two years ago, Saint Barnabas was involved in a kidney chain involving 12 people and two other hospitals. However, this 16-person chain involved only Saint Barnabas' patients. They outdid themselves this time.

To me, the neatest thing about this whole deal, besides the fact that eight lives were saved, is the fact that it involved spouses and began on ..... Valentine's Day. Now, these spouses will have the opportunity to spend many more Valentine's Days together. How neat is that ??

Source : article titled Donors, Recipients in Chain of Eight Kidney Transplants Gather for Reunion

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A Gold Medal Winner in Tennessee

Recently, The Regional Medical Center at Memphis was presented with the Gold Organ Donation Medal of Honor by the Mid-South Transplant Foundation. The hospital, along with 306 others across the country, had also been previously recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for having a donation rate of at least 75% during 2010.

A donation rate of 75% equates to many, many lives saved. Congratulations to all the hospitals honored for a job well done. Keep up the good work.

Source : article titled Regional Medical Center at Memphis Wins Gold for Promoting Organ Donations

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Biking for organ donation

A Moss Bluff, LA heart / kidney transplant recipient is currently on a 270-mile long bike ride to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation. Jack Tillery left his hometown of Moss Bluff on Saturday with plans to arrive in New Orleans on Wednesday, April 27th. Jack says there are three main reasons for the ride - "... to glorify God through the gift of life, to honor my donor family for unselfishly saying yes to organ donation, which allowed me to receive a second chance at life, and to express appreciation to Oschner Medical Center and my transplant team."

Have a safe trip, Jack.

Source : article titled Bike Ride Supports Organ Donation

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Music Monday with Chris Tomlin

Yesterday, we Christians celebrated Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Today's Music Monday video caps off the celebration with Chris Tomlin's latest release - "I Will Rise." The song contains a message of hope, peace, and the ultimate victory that is available to all of us. All we have to do is accept it by faith. Enjoy. May God Bless you all.

(My e-mail subscribers can view the video by clicking here.)

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Screaming Eagle a hero in both life and death

On April 8th, Spc. Jonathan David "Doc" Hall's life was celebrated on the one-year anniversary of his death. Spc. Hall was a medic with the 101st Airborne serving in Afghanistan when the vehicle he was riding in was destroyed by an IED (improvised explosive device). Spc. Hall suffered severe head trauma which led to his death. However, a decision he made long before has helped his family cope with his loss.

As a medic, Spc. Hall was responsible for treating the injuries suffered by his brothers in arms while in combat. He was responsible for doing everything he could to save their lives. When he passed away from the injuries he received while serving his country, he continued to save lives because he was an organ and tissue donor. Six people he never met are alive today because of him. They include :
Patch of the United States Army's 101st Airbor...
  • a 21-year old man who received his heart,
  • a 42-year old man who received his lungs,
  • a 32-year old woman who received his pancreas and left kidney,
  • a 27-year old man who received his right kidney, and 
  • a 49-year old man and young boy who each received part of his liver.
On the day of the celebration, a memorial on his family's farm was dedicated to Spc. Hall's memory. He will not be forgotten because he represents everything that is good about the U.S. military. Our country's military men and women sacrifice every day to protect our freedoms. Spc. Hall's sacrifice gave the six recipients mentioned above physical freedom from the diseases that had them in physical bondage.  

Source : article titled 101st Airborne Soldier's Gift of Life Remembered
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7 lives saved in 5 days

Recently, Intermountain Medical Center's transplant unit got really busy. One of the facility's transplant coordinators, Becky Wier, a registered nurse, referred to it as "really crazy" while another transplant coordinator, Kristie Baker, worked 28 hours straight in order to save lives. The hospital medical staff's dedication, hard work, and long hours between March 2nd and 6th resulted in seven lives being saved by seven transplants (5 kidneys and 2 livers) in only five days.

One of the lives saved was Valeri Wright's. The Las Vegas woman had spent the last 20 years hooked to a dialysis machine after a kidney transplant received years ago failed after being rejected only 12 hours after her surgery. She now has her life back. All seven recipients are doing well and several of them have bonded becoming close friends. Each of us can help someone get their life back by registering as an organ and tissue donor. Just visit the Donate Life America by clicking on the banner above to learn how in your state. One organ and tissue donor can save as many as 8 lives and improve as many as 50 more. Register today.

Source : article titled Seven Organ Transplants Done in Five Days at Utah Hospital
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Helping cancer and burn victims through skin donations

Most of my blog posts focus on how organ donation saves lives, but tissue donation is just as important.  Oftentimes, it improves a person's quality of life. A Sacramento, CA plastic surgeon, Dr. Charles Perry, is working with the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF) and his patients to help people in need of skin and tissue transplants.

The Living Skin Donation Program provides these needed skin and tissue transplants to patients who have been the victims of cancer, burns, or other trauma. The donations are made up of unneeded skin or tissue from Dr. Perry's patients which was removed during tummy tucks or other plastic surgery procedures. The program not only helps people needing the skin transplants but also gives Dr. Perry's patients a sense of doing something good by helping someone in need. It's recycling at it's finest.

Source : article titled Skin Donations at Sacramento Plastic Surgery Practice Help Cancer Survivors, Born Victims
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Monday, April 18, 2011

A Holy Week Music Monday

Today's Music Monday is devoted to Holy Week. The featured song and video, "I See Love," is from the soundtrack of Mel Gibson's 2004 film The Passion of the Christ. The song was a joint effort of Third Day, Mercy Me, and Steven Curtis Chapman, and the video contains movie clips from The Passion. As we Christians anticipate the approaching Easter celebration, today's video reminds us of what our faith is about.

Freedom is a frequent topic on this blog, and Easter is about true freedom - spiritual freedom and how Christ won it for us. I hope everyone enjoys today's video and has a Happy Easter.

(My e-mail subscribers, as well as others, can also view the video by clicking hereEnhanced by Zemanta.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Donate Life Month event to be held in Columbia, SC tomorrow

Supporters of organ and tissue donation will hold the inaugural Linking Hands for Life event at Riverfront Park in Columbia, SC tomorrow (Saturday, April 16th) at 4PM EDT. The event's purpose is to raise organ and tissue donation awareness. The event will have live music and attendees will link hands to symbolize a chain and the cycle of life.

One little girl, Reagan Potter, will celebrate her sixth birthday at the event after having a heart transplant when she was less than a year old. She was diagnosed with a serious heart defect immediately after birth. If you cannot attend the event, you can still celebrate Reagan's birthday with her as well as Donate Life Month. How ?? By signing up to be an organ and tissue donor if you have not already. Just click on the banner to the right to visit the Donate Life America website for more information and to learn how to sign up in the state where you live.

Source : article titled Event to Raise Awareness About Organ Donation

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

30 Heroes in 30 Days

Donate Life Maryland is running a special campaign during the month of April to celebrate Donate Life Month. The campaign is called 30 Stories / 30 Days and is designed to honor 30 heroes. Each day in April, the initiative will feature a different organ donor from Maryland by telling their story and how they made a difference and saved lives with one simple decision - signing up to be an organ and tissue donor.

Donate Life Maryland has one goal with this initiative - encouraging people to register as an organ and tissue donor. Natalie Benavides, Executive Director of Donate Life Maryland, said the organization "... wants to remind people about the life on the other end ... There is someone who gets to see their daughter get married ... Real stories of people who get to return to work." Maryland is blessed with nearly 2.2 million registered organ and tissue donors which translates to just under 50% of the state's adult population. If you have not made the decision to be an organ and tissue donor, I want to encourage you to do so today. You can visit the Donate Life America website (click here or on the banner above) to learn more and find how to register in your state.

Source : article titled Annapolis Family Featured in Statewide Donor Campaign
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Monday, April 11, 2011

The Sheepdog's back with "Livin' on a Prayer"

After a nice two week break to do some other things, The Sheepdog's back. The website renovation is coming along well, but it'll take a few weeks for me to finish up the new look. In the meantime, it's time for Music Monday again.

Bon Jovi is the feature today. These guys were one of the most popular and most successful bands of the '80s. They sold millions of records and scored some #1 song's during that era. One of their biggest hits was today's featured video - "Livin' on a Prayer." The song was on the band's 1986 album Slippery When Wet which reached number one and has sold more than 28 million copies making it the band's biggest selling album of their career. I hope everyone enjoys watching it.

Furthermore, in my last blog post before my break, I stated that April is Donate Life Month. Therefore, I will focus on organ and tissue transplant issues in my posts this month. One reason I ran "Livin' on a Prayer" today, besides the fact it's a great song, is because over 110,000 Americans are currently on the national waiting list for a life saving organ transplant. They are indeed living on a prayer. The good news is that there is hope for them if more people will sign up to be donors. If you haven't signed up, I encourage you to visit the Donate Life America website today (click here) to find out how to do so where you live.

(My e-mail subscribers, as well as others, can also watch the video by clicking here.)

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