Swedish celebrates the gift of life during Donate Life Month

Providence Swedish's transplant team set a record for hope in 2023, breaking all previous transplant performance records. April's Donate Life Month celebrates organ donors, recipients and the caregivers who make it possible. 

To raise awareness on the importance of organ donation, the Swedish Organ Transplant Program and Liver Center held a special event on April 19 as part of its month-long celebration of National Donate Life Month.

The event began with a symbolic flag-raising ceremony on the Swedish First Hill campus. Caregivers gathered in front of the hospital’s main entrance to see the Donate Life flag raised by Chandrasekar Santhanakrishnan, M.D., executive medical director of the Swedish Organ Transplant and Liver Center, and Cheyenne Haines, the program’s director of operations. 

Donate Life flag was first introduced by Donate Life America in 2006. Since then, it has become a national symbol of unity, remembrance, and hope, honoring those touched by donation and transplantation across the country and around the world. 

The celebration also featured heartfelt remarks from three patients – an organ donor and two recipients – whose lives have been deeply touched by organ donation. Hear their stories:

Tim Meyer, a local police commander, considers it a privilege to become a Swedish living kidney donor and share the gift of good health with another. He will soon complete his 75th marathon. Hear Tim’s story

David Novak an avid runner who received a deceased donor transplant on March 20, 2024. Prior to his transplant, David, through a strict diet and exercise regimen, was able to avoid any form of dialysis. Hear David’s story

Mary Bui received a liver transplant in 2017. She's appreciative for the gift of life she received from her donor who she has never met, and for her care team at Swedish. Hear Mary’s story

For more than 45 years, the transplant team at Providence Swedish has been providing organ transplants to people throughout the Pacific Northwest. Last year, the program broke all previous performance records with 136 kidney transplants, compared to 110 in 2022; 68 liver transplants in 2023, compared to 45 in 2022; 15 hepato-biliary procedures and 22 living donor kidney transplants.

“Organ transplants are very much lifesaving, whether it’s getting a patient off long-term dialysis or curing their irreversible liver disease with a liver transplant,” says Dr. Santhanakrishnan. “Seeing patients regain their quality of life and be there for their families is gratifying. Transplants provide hope.”

About Providence Swedish 

Providence Swedish has served the Puget Sound region since the first Providence hospital opened in Seattle in 1877 and the first Swedish hospital opened in 1910. The two organizations affiliated in 2012 and today comprise the largest health care delivery system in Western Washington, with 22,000 caregivers, eight hospitals and 244 clinics. A not-for-profit family of organizations, Providence Swedish provides more than $406 million in community benefit in the Puget Sound Region each year. The health system offers a comprehensive range of services and specialty and subspecialty care in several clinical areas, including cancer, cardiovascular health, neurosciences, orthopedics, digestive health and women’s and children’s care.