Illuminating Hope – Donor Network of Arizona’s 2019 Symposium08/26/2019
In 2012, Traci Cromwell was suffering from a persistent cough that was progressively getting worse. Eventually, doctors told Traci that she had an interstitial lung disease. This meant chronic and progressive pulmonary scarring, but Traci thought she would get a prescription for medication and that everything would be fine.
However, it was not fine. “A few months later, I was carrying my groceries into my house and I couldn’t breathe,” she says. “By 2015, I was on 24-hour-a-day oxygen. I needed help with just about all of my daily activities. It really is no way to live.”
To say the struggle was exhausting for her is an understatement, but she knows it affected her entire family. Her daughters did the grocery shopping for her and her husband stepped in to complete all chores around the house.
“Even walking and talking at the same time became a huge challenge,” Cromwell explains.
In February 2018, she received her hero’s selfless gift of two gently used lungs—her transplantiversary becoming her new symbolic birthday.
Bringing Light to Donation
Traci highlighted this story with the guests at Donor Network of Arizona’s (DNA) Illuminate 2019 Donation Symposium Aug. 16. The symposium, held every other year, aims to shed light on donation and provide comprehensive education to health care professionals and end-of-life providers.
This year, DNA hosted more than 400 attendees to bring to light the essential topics surrounding donation. Presentations included the recent innovation to maximize the gift of life by accepting Hepatitis C positive organs for recipients without Hepatitis C, as well as a panel of medical professionals who shared how to implement honor walks and donor recognition in hospitals. Guests even participated in a self-care session where they learned how to help themselves manage stress better.
Learning tables highlighted different steps of the donation process, such as registering as a donor, donor referrals, organ, tissue and ocular recovery, hospital coordination and communication, and patient aftercare.
To encourage participation and a little bit of competition, guests won prizes through DNA’s in-app game by submitting fun photos, like who they ate lunch with and our hidden Reggie, the Donor Cactus mascot.
Each year, our collaboration with medical professionals and end-of-life caregivers shows us that we truly shine brighter when we work together.