Our Lady of Lourdes Statue Turns Green for Organ Donor Awareness
Thursday, December 6, 2012
In recognition of organ donor awareness and to honor all organ donors, Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center will light the hospital's iconic 30-foot, 15-ton statue of the Blessed Mother green each time a patient is having an organ transplant at the hospital.
For the first time, the statue turns green on December 6 at sunset as two transplants -- a kidney-pancreas and a liver transplant -- have recently been performed. The statue will stay lit for several days and will then turn green with each subsequent transplant. The hospital plans to make this a tradition for years to come.
"We are proud to help raise awareness of organ donation," said Alexander J. Hatala, President of CEO of Lourdes Health System. "By lighting Our Lady of Lourdes green, we are reminding people of the gift of life in a truly meaningful way. On behalf of our patients, we are grateful to the thousands of kind people who donate their organs each year. Unfortunately, the number of organs needed outnumbers the number of donors. We want to do all we can to raise and support awareness."
The cherished statue, which has stood atop the medical center since its inception in 1950 and has served as a symbol of light and hope for Camden and its surrounding communities for more than six decades, has turned pink in support of breast cancer awareness each October since 2001. The only year the statue did not turn pink was 2011 when the Blessed Mother sustained damage caused by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the East Coast.
Lourdes is the only liver-kidney-pancreas transplant provider in southern New Jersey. With some of the best outcomes in the entire state of New Jersey, the kidney transplant program makes up the core of Lourdes Regional Organ Transplantation Center which serves as southern New Jersey's regional resource for liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation. Lourdes works closely with the New Jersey Sharing Network and the other organ procurement organizations to help patients obtain organs for transplant.
Although there have been advances in medical technology and donation, more organ donors are needed. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, more than 114,000 men, women and children currently need life-saving organ transplants. Every 10 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list, and an average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.