Ceremony pays tribute to tissue donors

The Rufenacht family
The Rufenacht family

Online Staff Report

JANESVILLE, Wisconsin — RTI Donor Services (RTI DS) hosted more than 40 donor family members in Janesville, Wisconsin, Saturday, Oct. 4, for its “Reflections of Life, Reflections of Love” donor memorial ceremony.

Representatives from the Illinois Eye Bank, the Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin and the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office joined RTI DS for the event, which is held each year in each of RTI DS’ division states to provide an opportunity for donor families to honor their loved ones who were tissue donors.

We are pleased to honor the memory of so many loved ones who made the selfless decision to give the gift of life,” said Brenda Knighton, program director for RTI DS, Midwest Division. “We look forward to remembering and recognizing them on these special days.”

Families networked with other donor families and RTI DS staff, and almost every family shared very touching memories of their loved ones, as well as very complimentary words about RTI DS and how much the process of tissue donation has helped them in their healing process.

I have become aware of how many people are waiting for organs and tissue,” said Sue Pasewald, who shared her story of the gift of tissue donation her daughter Christina gave when she tragically passed away at the age of 23. “It makes me even more eager to spread the word of how just one person can help so many. Don’t waste what could help someone else. Our beautiful daughter’s memory lives on forever.”

Sponsored by RTI DS, the ceremony is an opportunity for families to remember their loved ones who gave the gift of life through donation of tissue — skin, bone, heart valves, veins, corneas, tendons and cartilage — to save and improve the lives of others.

Donated tissue is used in more than 1 million surgeries routinely performed each year in the United States. Donated bone can save an injured patient from amputation, and may aid in spinal, musculoskeletal and fracture repair. Increasing numbers of surgeries use bone dowels, wedges, pastes and pins as the implants of choice for tissue repair. Tissue is sometimes favored over metals and synthetics — which can weaken and stress adjoining bone — and the body usually adapts to the transplanted bone as if it were the patient’s own.

RTI Donor Services is a not-for-profit tissue recovery network dedicated to serving donor families and the donation community in perpetuating the circle of life. In addition to offering families the option of tissue donation, RTI DS supports their wishes as a responsible steward of human donated tissue gifts and provides family services, as well as community information and awareness. RTI DS can be found online at www.RTIDonorServices.org or at www.Facebook.com/RTIDonorServices.

Posted Oct. 6, 2014

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