By Megan Morketter
Special to Stlouisrams.com
As a part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness for the life-saving benefits of organ donation, the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center hosted Transplant Awareness Day during the Rams’ final game of the preseason.
To kick off the event, Rams veteran safety Aeneas Williams and the Transplant Center staff welcomed heart and lung transplant recipients, physicians and their guests to Baer Park, home of the Official Bud Light Tailgate Party. Hundreds gathered pre-game as Williams rallied the crowd honoring the outstanding accomplishments of those in attendance.
According to Gene Ridolfi, director of the Transplant Center, the Rams game was the perfect setting to recognize the nation-leading transplant care Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital team up to offer.
“We want to provide our recipients the opportunity to celebrate the success of their transplants by engaging with fellow recipients,” said Ridolfi. “A Rams game provides them an excellent opportunity to do so.”
Transplant Awareness Night also served as a platform to highlight the importance of organ transplantation. To help educated Rams fans about the advancements happening in St. Louis, Dr. Jeffery S. Crippin, medical director of Liver Transplantation at the Transplant Center, participated in a question and answer session that was displayed on the video board inside the Edward Jones Dome during halftime.
The co-chair of the Transplant Steering Committee spoke of the hundreds of major organ transplants carried out annually by the Transplant Center including the staff’s first adult liver-double lung transplant, completed last year. It is unique procedures such as these that place the Transplant Center at the forefront of the medical field.
“The heart, lung and ventricular assist device recipients are living proof of the positive benefits of innovation, transplantation and organ donation,” said Dr. Crippin.
So as the organization celebrates the 50th anniversary of its kidney transplant program and 25th anniversary of the lung transplant program, the staff continues to focus on educating the community on the difference transplantation can provide for those waiting for a life-saving procedure.
“These are great milestones for our Transplant Center and the community,” said Dr. Crippin. “With this level of experience comes great outcomes for our recipients.”