Wednesday, 06 April 2016 19:53

Organ donors honored at State Capitol

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. 

Donor family members honored included Jessie and Frank Ginoza, parents of 28 year old Steven Ginoza, who died in 2000 after he fell unexpectedly and hit his head which left him brain dead. What helped his family heal after the tragedy was knowing Ginoza’s heart, liver, and kidneys, helped save 4 lives. Over the years, the Ginozas developed a special bond with some of the organ recipients.

Also from Oahu, Elisa Dannals, mother of Jonathan Pons, who was an eye and tissue donor. After earning his degree as a certified automotive diesel mechanic, Jonathan returned to Hawaii, the land that he loved.  Although his life was cut short, Jonathan gave the gift of sight to two others, which helped his grief-stricken mother cope with the loss of her only child.

From Kauai, Peter and Wendy Kruse, parents of Lokelani Kruse, who was just 16 years old when a tragic car accident took her life. In her high school essay, she stated she wished to be an organ donor and encouraged others to do so as well.

The gift of organ donation saved 30,000 lives nationally in 2015, a milestone year. Tissue transplants restored the quality of life of more than a million others. Currently there are more than 121,000 patients, including 438 in Hawaii, who are waiting for a life-saving organ. Asians, Pacific Islanders and Filipinos, 60 percent of Hawaii's population, are especially at risk for end-stage organ failure. About 58 percent of Hawaii's population over the age of 18 have registered to be organ/tissue donors.  

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