Celebrated in April each year, National Donate Life Month features local, regional and national activities that encourage Americans to register as organ and tissue donors and to celebrate those who have saved lives through the gift of donation.
Kori Anderson MMS, PA-C of Belleville, NJ, is just one of the many New Jerseyans that are sharing their personal connection to organ and tissue donation and transplantation to inspire others to register as donors.
Kori is passionate about caring for the physical and mental health needs of her patients as a Physician Assistant and Director of Administration at North Jersey Health and Wellness in Paramus, Ramsey, and Florham Park.
She was recently honored by the American Health Council with the Best in Medicine award for treating patients with mental health and substance abuse disorders.
While Kori’s many accomplishments are the direct result of her boundless energy and ability to connect with her patients, she remains mindful of her own life-saving liver transplant and the generosity of her donor who gave her the gift of life.
“Organ donation gives others a second chance at life and the selfless donor lives on through others. I’m living proof of that,” Kori said. “Now I work every day to give that second chance to others, who are living with debilitating psychiatric illnesses that people lose their lives to every day.”
Kori was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (PSC) that damaged her liver when she was just 15 years old.
She endured 15 years of a progressive disorder that included hospitalizations, physical pain, and emotional trauma until she underwent a successful liver transplant at the age of 30.
“One of the things that really moved me to focus on Psychiatry is because I understand there is a huge amount of trauma from chronic illness for people going through it and for their families as well,” Kori said. “I want to always be there for patients and their families to help them cope. I’m blessed. I had the support of my husband, family, and friends that helped me stay hopeful during the most difficult times.”
Kori and her husband, Glenn Praschil, actively support NJ Sharing Network through volunteering and generous contributions to the foundation. Kori’s parents, Bonnie and Rex Anderson have also created some unique ways to honor Kori’s donor and promote organ donation.
Friends often gather at their home to craft bells on strings of colorful beads that are hung on park benches, in trees, and on playground equipment around the country and world.
Attached to each string of beads and bells is a note that reads: “To the finder of this bell: This bell has been placed in memory of the greatest hero we will never know, my daughter Kori’s liver donor. 7-13-17. May the ringing of this bell inspire you to save the lives of eight others through your organ donation.”
Joe Roth, president and CEO of NJ Sharing Network, appreciates Kori’s support and the efforts of its thousands of local volunteers and healthcare partners.
“Donate Life Month has always been a time to rally around the importance of organ and tissue donation, which we have traditionally done through community events and activities,” Roth said. “Although we will not be able to do in-person activities this year, our team of dedicated staff and volunteers are driven to spread our life-saving message using our online platforms.”
In New Jersey, there are nearly 4,000 residents currently waiting for a life-saving transplant, and one person in New Jersey dies every three days waiting for a transplant. Just one organ and tissue donor can save 8 lives and enhance the lives of over 75 people.
Transplantable organs include heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and intestine. Transplantable tissue includes corneas, heart valves, skin grafts, and bone grafts, ligament and tendons.
To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.
NJ Sharing Network’s National Donate Life Month webpage (www.NJSharingNetwork.org/DLM) features informative videos, flyers and social media graphics to share with others. In addition, all are welcome to participate in the following online activities and programs:
- Thursday, April 22, at 5:00 pm — #IGotThePower Youth Panel Discussion Join us on NJ Sharing Network’s Facebook page for an inspirational discussion with local youths whose lives have been changed by the miracle of organ and tissue donation.
- Friday, April 30, at 5:00 pm — Facebook Live Donor Remembrance Day Join us on NJ Sharing Network’s Facebook page or YouTube channel for a special program in honor of those who generously gave the gift of life.
Additional details coming soon – visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org/Events.