The news media has a powerful influence on public perception of organ, eye and tissue donation. Recognizing the role that the news media serves in our public education efforts, Legacy of Life Hawaii maintains this online newsroom to provide members of the news media with current information regarding organ and tissue donation and transplantation in Hawaii.
Honolulu - (April 7, 2017) To celebrate 30 years of honoring Hawaii’s organ donor heroes, two families will be reunited commemorating the 10th anniversary of their loved one’s life-saving organ donation at the annual Legacy of Life Hawai'i Donor Remembrance Ceremony at Ko‘olau Ballrooms in Kaneohe. The event also marks the 30th anniversary of Legacy of Life Hawai‘i, an organization founded in 1987 to serve the people of Hawaii through organ, eye and tissue donation and transplant.
Ten years ago, Dusty Rapoza, a young man of 17 years, passed away suddenly on the Big Island and was flown to Oahu where his family made the difficult decision to donate his organs, giving others another chance at life. This Saturday, the Rapoza ohana will be reunited with Cherilyn Rabago, the young mother from Waipahu who received Dusty’s kidney and pancreas. The two families will share this reunion with more than 100 other local Hawaii families who have been directly touched by donation.
“Our desire is to give hope to others along their healing journey,” said Rabago.
The Donor Remembrance Ceremony honors and celebrates local organ and tissue donors, provides support for grieving families and gives transplant recipients an opportunity to say, ‘thank you’ for their second chance at life.
Also to be unveiled at the event are the Donor Remembrance Quilts displaying squares created by donor families honoring their loved ones. Each square is made of photos, mementos and keepsakes of each organ and tissue donor to highlight the uniqueness of the individual. Year after year, the quilts reflect the healing love of the donor families, a display that is lovingly stitched together by the team of Legacy of Life Hawai’i volunteers and staff.
At the Quilt Pinning Ceremony families share a memory, describe how the design was chosen and/or share a poem on the story square. The pinning ceremony is significant because families give the square to Legacy of Life Hawai‘i, entrust it into their care after having invested their love and energy into creating it. This is symbolic, as these same families had entrusted their loved ones into the care of Legacy of Life Hawai‘i in order for donation to have occurred.
The event will conclude with the Monarch Butterfly Release. when 140 monarch butterflies are released in honor and in memory of Hawaii’s organ, tissue and eye donors. Each donor family receives one monarch butterfly, symbolizing the renewed that hope their loved ones gave to the many transplant recipients by consenting to organ and tissue donation.
The butterfly symbolizes hope, rebirth, peace and emergence from darkness into a new life, which is similar to a family’s experience of grief. Families at the time of the darkness of grief, somehow find the strength to give the gift of donation. Many families consider the releasing of the butterfly to be a releasing of the spirit, or a way to send a message or wish to their loved one on the butterfly’s wings. Families find much comfort when the butterflies linger - find a place to rest on a lei or nearby flower - families often express a sense that their loved one is near.
HONOLULU (April 19, 2017) – Castle Resorts & Hotels, one of Hawaii’s largest hotel and resort management companies, has partnered with Legacy of Life Hawaii to increase organ donor registrations not only in Hawaii but also around the world. As a member of Legacy of Life Hawaii’s Workplace Partnership for Life program, Castle will educate employees, owners and visitors on the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation
HONOLULU (Oct. 24, 2016) - Aloha United Way (AUW), in partnership with the Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) Charitable Foundation, donated nine Smart electric vehicles to local nonprofits, organizations all dedicated to making Hawaii a better place to live. Legacy of Life Hawaii was among the nonprofit organizations, which included: Adult Friends for Youth, Aloha United Way - Hawaii Cares, American Lung Association in Hawaii, BikeShare Hawaii, Hawaii Meals on Wheels, Kupu, Pacific Gateway Center, and Partners in Development.
Honolulu, HI – November 17, 2016 – Chase Kai Horimoto, is among 60 individuals nationally, and the only one from Hawai'i, to be honored as an organ donor in the 2017 Rose Parade. The 2017 Donate Life America float depicts a traditional double-hull catamaran inspired by Hawai'i’s Polynesian voyaging canoe, the Hōkūle'a.
The image of Chase Horimoto, who is of Native Hawaiian ancestry, will be transformed into a floragraph that will adorn the Donate Life float in the 128th Rose Parade in Pasadena, California on Jan. 1, 2017. A floragraph –distinctive to the Donate Life float in the Rose Parade – is a portrait representation of an individual made with seeds and other organic materials.
HONOLULU – Legacy of Life Hawaii, the only federally designated organ procurement organization in Hawaii responsible for the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant, announced today that it will expand its services to begin recovering eye tissue from donors in June 2016.
“Legacy of Life Hawaii is dedicated to saving and enhancing lives through organ and tissue recovery, which includes cornea recovery services,” said Legacy of Life Hawaii CEO and President Stephen A. Kula, PhD. “Expanding our clinical services to include cornea recovery services will ensure local accountability and enable us to better serve the community and the families of those who have given the gift of life.” Legacy of Life Hawaii will be one of many organ donor centers nationwide to combine donor organ, tissue and eye services as part of its clinical program.
Kaneohe, HI (April 30, 2016) – Families from across Hawaii will gather Saturday at the Ko`olau Ballrooms to celebrate their loved ones who have given the gift of life. Tai Chi instructor Cynthia Murata, whose husband was a tissue donor, will present a special workshop designed to help those who have lost a loved one balance their health while coping with their grief.
HONOLULU - Three organ donors were honored at the state capitol Monday for saving several lives as the country observes National Donate Life Month. Lokelani Kruse from Kauai, Jonathan Pons from Oahu, and Steven Ginoza, also from Oahu were recognized with proclamations. Their families appeared on their behalf on the floor of the Senate and House chambers at Hawaii State Capitol.
HONOLULU -29 FEB 2016 - A new bill has been proposed that would require organ and tissue information to be taught in Driver Education courses.
Currently, those obtaining a driver's license must decide to "check the box" on whether to become an organ donor. For many teenagers, that decision is an uninformed one, filled with misconceptions and myths.
Honolulu - April 6, 2015 - As part of National Donate Life Month, the Senate honored the families of Kekoa Nelson from Maui, Duke DeRego of the Big Island and former Honolulu police officer Jens Magelssen for their loved ones lifesaving gift.Many of the families held pictures of their loved ones. Duke DeRego died at the age of 14. His family says his donated organs helped three different people.
"Duke was always giving. He was a giving young man. This is the ultimate gift and just to know it means something -- not only to us, to our Senate, to Hawaii, is just an honor," said Shirley DeRego, Duke's mother. "I am at a loss for words. I'm proud of this today."
In Hawaii there are 450 people who are currently waiting for an organ donation. The Department of Health says the demand is growing twice as fast as the supply.