ECHO the Message of Donation07/18/2018
Mariachi band players welcomed guests with vibrant tunes. Families snapped photos with blow-up microphones and miniature guitars. This musical theme tied together individuals from all communities as they gathered to share stories of hope and shed tears of remembrance.
This was all to celebrate ECHO (Every Community Has Opportunity), Donate Life America’s annual campaign. This campaign encourages members of all communities to learn more about donation and register as donors.
On July 11, Donate Life Arizona held an ECHO luncheon to promote organ and tissue donation registration throughout all communities. With the theme of music, this luncheon emphasized that donation is universal and has the power to impact lives and unite people of all communities.
The event featured a panel of distinguished leaders in the African American, Hispanic, Native American, religious, health care and LGBTQ+ communities. They helped lead the discussion about common misconceptions surrounding donation within their communities and helping people make informed decisions.
The mariachi band who played joyful music throughout the day also payed tribute to one of their former members, Victoria Arias. Victoria was a member of Los Changuitos Feos de Tucson during high school. Her parents shared her story at the ECHO luncheon, which took place the week of the one year anniversary of her death. They celebrated the four lives Victoria saved through donation and honored her memory.
Sharing the Story of Second Chances
Having experienced both sides of donation, Norian Reese shared her family’s story and a song with the guests at the luncheon.
When her son, O’esha Reese, passed away unexpectedly in November 2010, Norian and her family were devastated. A 35-year-old basketball fan, professional chef and loving father, O’esha had certainly made his mark on the world. With his family’s generous decision for O’esha to become a donor, he helped heal and improve the lives of at least 27 people through his gift of his corneas and tissue.
Just a few years later, O’esha’s parents were touched by the same generosity and selflessness of organ and tissue donation. Norian’s husband, Samuel, received a bone marrow transplant and Norian received a kidney transplant. Seeing donation come full circle helped the Reese family recognize the impact it has on so many lives.
“The greatest gift I got was knowing my son lives on, and the compassion of someone giving me and my husband a second chance at life,” Norian says.
O’esha’s legacy lives on not only through the recipients he helped, but through his family, as well. In addition to celebrating O’esha’s life on his birthday each year, the Reese family is closely involved with Donate Life Arizona and participates in the volunteer program.
When it comes to organ and tissue donation, every community had the opportunity to make a difference. How will you “echo” the message of donation?