Advocate Christ commemorates National Donate Life Month

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A sea of pinwheels covers Advocate Christ Medical Center?s front lawn commemorating National Donate Life Month. (WLS)

A sea of pinwheels covers Advocate Christ Medical Center's front lawn commemorating National Donate Life Month. Each whirling pinwheel tells a bittersweet story thanks to organ, tissue and eye donations.
Robert Reyes lives one of those stories, having received a new heart on April 11, 2017. He's had more time with his wife and daughters. But with Reyes' second chance at life, another family lost a son.

"I would like for them to get to know me and get to know their son. There's two of us now," said an emotional Reyes, touching his chest.
Dr. Ambar Andrade, a transplant cardiologist at Advocate Christ, says each year some people waiting for a heart transplant won't receive one because in times of loss, families may not be prepared to consider donating a love one's organs-even though they could save up to eight lives.
"Families don't have those conversations with their children when they're in the prime of their life," explained Andrade.
Then there are children like Jonathan Cook, who was born with a rare genetic disorder. His mom, Cindy Cook, assumed he wouldn't be able to donate anything even though she didn't expect him to live long. But when Jonathan died at the age of 10, she learned otherwise.

"Everybody could potentially donate something," she said the medical team told her.
Jonathan did just that; his heart valves saved a young girl's life.
"This child who we were told was incompatible with life... he gave life," said Cook.
In total there are 1,330 pinwheels in the makeshift garden, each thanking an Advocate Christ donor or recipient for turning tragedy into hope.
Related Topics:
healthorgan donationsheart transplantOak Lawn
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