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Jaclyn Russe Nurse of the Year

Lifesharing Announces 2022 Nurse of the Year

Jaclyn (“Jackie”) Russe is Lifesharing’s “Nurse of the Year” and UC San Diego Health’s Nurse Consultant award winner. The accolades were announced during Nurses Week, which runs from May 6 – 12, 2022. In her position as a Lifesharing organ procurement coordinator, Jackie travels to hospitals throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties. When a patient’s life cannot be saved, it’s Jackie’s job to try and save their organs. She uses her critical care skills to keep organs viable for transplant, while she searches for the best recipient match on the transplant waiting list. Jackie has saved countless lives by finding new homes for donated organs such as hearts, lungs, kidneys and livers. Jackie builds strong bonds with the families of our organ donor heroes — and she works tirelessly to ensure their loved ones live on through donation. Every year, Jackie honors our donors during Día de los Muertos.

Jackie has also made numerous clinical contributions to Lifesharing, which have helped us set back-to-back records for organ donations over the last several years. She spearheaded a project which increased the number of liver transplants by 22% and she is currently studying ways to increase heart donations, too. Because when you increase the number of organs that are donated — you increase the number of lives that can be saved.

On a personal note, Jackie is a mother of four and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. She served in Afghanistan, tending to wounded warriors on the battlefield. Jackie was motivated to enlist after witnessing the tragic events of September 11th, 2001 — and the story of her deployment was recently featured on ABC 10News on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Jackie continues to embody the core values of the Navy: honor, courage and commitment. We are incredibly proud to call her a Lifesharing nurse.

Honoring our Organ and Tissue Donors for Día de Muertos

10 News Report: Lifesharing Nurse and Navy vet Jaclyn Russe on How 9/11 Changed Her Life

Jaclyn Russe, 2022 Nurse of the Year
Lifesharing Saves Record Lives

Lifesharing Saves a Record Number of Lives During the Pandemic

Lifesharing team members created a memorial wreath to honor recent organ and tissue donors

Lifesharing saved a record 424 lives in 2020, successfully overcoming extraordinary challenges presented by COVID-19. Determined to carry out their mission, our team achieved two incredible milestones: a record 143 organ donors and a record 424 organs transplanted in a single year. These efforts were made possible by the amazing generosity of our donor families and the phenomenal support of our hospital partners. In addition to saving lives, Lifesharing also facilitated the donation of 66 organs for research and coordinated tissue donation for 455 individuals last year. To ensure the safety of the transplantation process, all organ and tissue donors are being tested for COVID-19. In announcing the record year, Lifesharing Executive Director Lisa Stocks told her staff, “This is unprecedented. The only way I can explain it is that the team persevered… I have so much gratitude in my heart for our staff, hospitals and families.”

Lifesharing Saves Record Lives
Lifesharing Day of the Dead

Día De Los Muertes 2021

Every year, Lifesharing creates a beautiful ofrenda (altar) to honor its recent heroes. Celebrated on November 1 and 2, Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday where it’s believed that the spirits of our deceased loved ones return to earth.

Lifesharing team members spend hours creating traditional sugar skulls for each donor — personalizing them in unique and beautiful ways. In this photo, Lifesharing organ procurement coordinator Jaclyn Russe, RN, creates a sugar skull in honor of organ donor Sara Michelle Herrera.

Honoring our Organ and Tissue Donors for Día de Muertos

10 News Report: Lifesharing Nurse and Navy vet Jaclyn Russe on How 9/11 Changed Her Life

Lifesharing Day of the Dead
Lifesharing Helps Vaccinate Thousands at Petco Park

Lifesharing Helps Vaccinate Thousands at Petco Park

Lifesharing Helps Vaccinate Thousands at Petco Park

Lifesharing is proud to have been part of an amazing effort to keep the San Diego community safe from COVID-19. Our staffers routinely volunteered at the Vaccination Super Station from the day it opened until the day it closed. Lifesharing Executive Director Lisa Stocks served as Site Manager on several different occasions and our organ procurement nurses helped administer shots. Our tissue team and administrative staff helped run supplies, give directions and assist with other important tasks. As Lifesharing’s Clinical Supervisor Charles Wainaina explained, “The community at large has participated in organ donation. Basically, they have helped us save lives. So for us, this was a way of giving back to the community that has given us so much.” Our special thanks to UC San Diego Health, the Padres and the County of San Diego for spearheading this extraordinary health initiative.

Help Slow the Spread of COVID19

Help Slow the Spread of COVID

COVID-19 vaccines are now being distributed in California, but we must all remain vigilant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still urging people to wear masks in public, practice social distancing and wash their hands often. These measures are designed to “flatten the curve” and avoid a surge in hospital cases all at once. Here’s a list of resources to help you stay informed about COVID-19 and vaccine availability:

For information about COVID-19 and vaccine distribution in San Diego County:
https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/community_epidemiology/dc/2019-nCoV.html

For information about COVID-19 in the city of San Diego:
https://www.sandiego.gov/coronavirus

For information about COVID-19 and vaccine distribution in Imperial County:
http://www.icphd.org/health-information-and-resources/healthy-facts/covid-19/

Information from the California Department of Public Health:
https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx

Information from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

Information for Transplant Candidates and Recipients from the American Society of Transplantation:
COVID-19 recommendations for Transplant Recipients

Help Slow the Spread of COVID19
Family with Florograph

Lifesharing to honor North County Hero Dad in Rose Parade

Lifesharing, the federally designated organ donation group in San Diego, is proud to honor Everardo Martinez on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float. The float features organ donors from all over the country – Martinez will represent the San Diego area on behalf of Lifesharing.

Born in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico, Everardo Martinez was a devoted husband and father. His smile lit up the room and his big heart showered the world with love. For 20 years, he put that love into every meal he cooked as head chef at Lourdes Mexican Food Restaurant in Escondido. (The restaurant is known for its chicken soup.)

In the spring of 2016, Martinez suffered a fatal aneurysm. As a registered organ donor, he saved the lives of 3 people when five of his organs were transplanted — including his loving heart. His wife Adriana says, “My husband was an amazing human being – loving, caring. He wanted to make a difference and he truly did. He impacted so many lives with his gift of life. And he leaves that legacy for us to continue.”

Everardo Martinez
Everardo Martinez
Family with Florograph
His wife and children just created his floral portrait which will be carried down Colorado Boulevard
Martinez Family
2018 National Donor Sabbath

2018 National Donor Sabbath

2018 National Donor Sabbath

November 9-11, 2018

Spreading the Word about the Critical Need for Organ, Eye and Tissue Donors

For many people, faith plays an important role in their decision to register as an organ and tissue donor. The National Donor Sabbath is an opportunity to share the importance of donation with your community. During this three-day observance, faith leaders are encouraged to educate the public about the need for organ, eye and tissue donors.

The transplant waiting list is much larger than the number of eligible donors. Sadly, an average of 22 people die each day in the U.S. because of the shortage of organs. Meanwhile, a new person is added to the wait list every 10 minutes. More than 114,000 people need a lifesaving organ.

Please share the downloadable information below with your church, synagogue, mosque, temple or communities of faith — help us spread the word about the importance of donation.

All major religions in the U.S. support donation as an act of love, charity and generosity.

Frequently Asked Questions, Talking Points and Statistics:

 

What is National Donor Sabbath?

National Donor Sabbath is observed annually, two weekends before Thanksgiving, from Friday through Sunday. This three-day observance seeks to include the days of worship for major religions practiced in the United States. During National Donor Sabbath, faith leaders and their communities participate in services and programs to educate the public about the importance of registering as organ and tissue donors.

What are the benefits of being an organ, eye and tissue donor?

  • Registering as a donor means your family won’t have to make this important decision on your behalf during a time of trauma and loss.
  • You can save up to 8 lives with organ donation and heal up to 75 others with the gift of tissue.
  • Most families find comfort knowing that their loved one helped make life possible for others.

 

Is there a cost to the donor?

There is no cost to the donor’s family for donation. The donor family pays only for medical expenses before death and costs associated with funeral arrangements.

Am I too old or sick to be a donor?

People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential donors. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissue can be donated.

Does my place of worship support organ, eye and tissue donation?

All major religions in the U.S. support donation as a final act of compassion and generosity.

Does donation affect funeral plans?

An open casket funeral is possible for organ, eye and tissue donors. Through the entire donation process, the body is treated with care and respect. Funeral arrangements can continue as planned following donation.

How can I become an organ, eye and tissue donor?

Register your decision to be a donor at Donate Life California. Always remember: it is important to tell your family members that you have signed up as a donor, so they will know your decision to save and heal lives.

What can I do to increase organ, eye and tissue donation in my community?

  • Go to Lifesharing.org for tips and tools for educating your community about the lifesaving gift of donation.
  • Encourage your friends and family to register as donors at the DMV or at Lifesharing.org.
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Lifesharing celebrates National Nurses Week May 6 – 12

“IT TAKES A REALLY SPECIAL PERSON TO BE A NURSE”

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Nursing is not just a job — it’s a calling.

Lifesharing nurses have a unique mission. They comfort grieving families and make sure their loved ones live on — through the gift of organ donation.

“There’s nothing else like it in the nursing community,” said Lifesharing Executive Director Lisa Stocks. “It’s not just a shift that you work — it’s a lifestyle.”

Lifesharing nurses may find themselves driving across the desert in the middle of the night to hold a family’s hand. They can be called to any hospital in San Diego or Imperial Counties, as they cover an area of more than 8,000 square miles. Lifesharing nurses are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“About 20 people die everyday, waiting for an organ. It is up to me to wake up everyday and try to make sure they get transplanted,” said Lifesharing nurse Charles Wainaina.

Like many Lifesharing nurses, Wainaina started out in a different field of nursing. He became interested in organ donation after one of his favorite patients gave the gift of life. For the last 3 years, Charles has worked as an organ procurement coordinator at Lifesharing, where he has seen lives transformed.

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“It’s a very rewarding thing to be here,” he said. Wainaina has spearheaded several projects that helped Lifesharing increase the number of organs transplanted and save more lives. For his efforts, Wainaina was awarded Lifesharing’s Nurse of the Year Award in 2018.

Wainaina and his nursing colleagues play a big role in the nation’s organ donation system. Lifesharing nurses are the linchpin between donors in the San Diego area and the 100,000+ patients on the transplant waiting list. Their job is to give donor families comfort and care — and give transplant recipients a second chance.

Lifesharing Clinical Services Director Jeff Trageser is mindful of the lengthy waiting list. A registered nurse for more than 20 years, Trageser approaches every task the same way — “I always imagine there’s 115,000 people behind me waiting for a transplant.”

Trageser says organ donation is a “beautiful thing” for families who have lost a loved one. “We’re able to give them something – a silver lining to their loss,” he said. Organ donation allows people to live on; the end of one life is the beginning of another.

It’s an emotional circle of life, which Lifesharing nurses witness everyday. After a donor dies, a team of Lifesharing staffers forms a procession to escort the donor to the operating room. Before the surgeons recover the organs, Lifesharing staffers hold a moment of silence and read a tribute to the donor. It’s a special moment where everyone in the operating room pauses for reflection.

Nurse Kristy Kusler recalls reading a tribute that was written on the back of a photograph. As she held up the picture to read the family’s words, everyone in the operating room could see the donor’s face. “It was very emotional — it was a challenge to get through,” she said.

Although Lifesharing nurses deal with death and sadness everyday, they’re also offering families hope. “Donation is the one good thing that can come out of this,” Kusler explained. She recently got a new perspective on the job when a family member — who was “literally on his death bed” — received a new liver. The transplant has allowed him to spend more time with his two young children.

Lifesharing nurses appreciate the gifts their donors give and consider themselves fortunate to play a role in the process. “I can’t imagine doing anything else — what else has this much meaning?” said Trageser.

Executive Director Lisa Stocks has been a nurse since 1987. A former organ procurement coordinator herself, she says Lifesharing nurses “put their entire self” into taking care of donor families and finding the perfect match for organs.

“It takes a really special person to be a nurse,” she said. “The nurses at Lifesharing are the best, strongest, smartest group of nurses that I’ve ever worked with.”

Charles Wainaina, Lifesharing Nurse of the Year
Charles Wainaina, Lifesharing Nurse of the Year
Kristy Kusler, Lifesharing RN
Kristy Kusler, Lifesharing RN
Jeff Trageser, Lifesharing Director of Clinical Services
Jeff Trageser, Lifesharing Director of Clinical Services
Lisa Stocks, Lifesharing Executive Director
Lisa Stocks, Lifesharing Executive Director
Donate Life Month Success

Lifesharing Celebrates a Successful Donate Life Month

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Lifesharing would like to thank all of its families and community partners for making Donate Life Month a huge success. There were many events held across San Diego and California — all with the goal of inspiring people to register as organ and tissue donors.

On April 1st, Lifesharing Executive Director Lisa Stocks kicked off Donate Life Month with a live interview on KUSI’s “Good Morning San Diego.” She addressed the shortage of organs, both locally and nationally. “In San Diego County, there are more than 2,000 people waiting for an organ transplant. Organ donation is a really rare occurrence,” she told KUSI Anchor, Jason Austell. “In San Diego County, there are only about 100 organ donors per year, so that doesn’t go very far to help the 115,000 people waiting in the United States.”

A few days later, Lifesharing assembled a unique alliance of transplant recipients and health groups for a rare joint press conference. Heart, liver, lung, kidney and pancreas recipients issued a collective plea for donor registrations. And they blew out the candles on a large “Re-Birthday cake,” symbolic of the new life they received through organ donation.

Lifesharing staffers were also part of the Donate Life California delegation that was recognized by the State Assembly in April. Lawmakers gave the delegation a round of applause for its efforts to increase donor registrations through the DMV. With the help of Lifesharing, several San Diego DMV offices took part in “Blue and Green Day” on April 13th, decorating their work spaces in the colors of the Donate Life logo.

Lifesharing’s hospital partners continue to be incredible champions for organ donation as well. Many flew the “Donate Life” flag and illuminated their buildings in blue and green for the month of April. Several hospitals also encouraged their staff to dress up for “Blue and Green Day.” Lifesharing is also extremely grateful to the San Diego funeral homes who also raised the “Donate Life” flag this month, in honor of local donors.

California has the longest transplant waiting list in the nation, at more than 21,000. One person can save 8 lives and heal 75 others through organ and tissue donation. Thank you for helping us spread the word!

To register as a donor, click here.

Register to be an Organ and Tissue Donor Today!
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