February Is Heart Month

We can’t let February end without mentioning that this is American Heart Month. When President Obama decreed this, he issued this statement:

“Every year, heart disease takes the lives of over half a million Americans, and it remains the leading cause of death in the United States. This devastating epidemic leaves no one untouched; its victims are fathers and daughters, grandparents and siblings, cherished friends and community members across our country. This month, we remember the steps each of us can take to reduce the risk of heart disease and recommit to better heart health for all Americans.

While genetic or hereditary factors play a part in many instances of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity, tobacco use, and alcohol abuse are major risk factors that can be prevented or controlled. To take action against heart disease, I encourage all Americans to make balanced and nutritious meal choices, maintain a healthy weight, and get active. Avoiding tobacco, moderating alcohol consumption, and working with a health care provider can also help prevent or treat conditions that can lead to heart disease. Additional resources on how to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease are available at: www.CDC.gov/HeartDisease.”

All of us have much to live for–taking control of our hearts both physically and mentally needs to be a priority. We’ve compiled a list of websites (and a few books) where you can learn more about how making changes to your diet, losing some weight, and being an active participant in your health care so you can prolong your life.

American Hearth Association Get Healthy

Better Homes and Garden Heart Healthy Living

The Healthy Fridge

Forks Over Knives

Harvard Health Publications

Dr. Fuhrman – Eat to Live

Be safe and be smart: Be sure to talk with your doctor before making any significant changes in your diet or workout regime.

Burn Awareness Week: February 5-11, 2012

Everyone reading this has most probably suffered some type of burn. Most of us have been very fortunate to have only suffered a minor, although painful burn. The American Burn Association estimates that 450,000 people were treated for burns in 2011. About 10% of those required hospitalization, many in specialized burn centers.

As we begin Burn Awareness Week (February 5-11, 2012), we need to realize, that in some cases, burns can be avoided. Knowing how to prevent burns in your home can help you and your family stay safe.

Here’s some basic facts about burns:

  • A scald is a burn from hot liquid or steam.
  • 60% of all scald injuries are to children ages 0-4. (National Center for Health Statistics).
  • Children have thinner skin than adults, which can result in a more severe burn.
  • The most common places children experience scalds are in the kitchen, dining room, and bathroom.
  • The maximum recommended residential water temperature is 120˚F (48˚C).

How can you protect your kids and yourself from burns?

Shriner’s Hospital, which specializes in the care of children who require hospitalization for burns, has put together a wonderful Be Burn Aware tip sheet on how you can keep everyone in your home safe from burns. We urge you to print this out, read it over, put it into action and then put it on your refrigerator. Awareness will lead you to positive changes and actions for not only your family, but for friends and family who stop by and notice this list hanging up in your home.

We’re proud of our work to help burn victims through tissue donation. Let’s take this seriously and make sure our homes are safe for our loved ones.

One Woman’s Journey on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float

Photos courtesy of Scott Weersing

Kate Taylor was our representative for the Donate Life float in the 2012 Rose Parade. We’re thrilled she wants to share with all of us her and her families experiences. Here’s what she wrote:

How do you find a word to sum up the experience of a lifetime? I’ll borrow the word my 5-year-old daughter, Ella, used…magical. On January 2, I was honored to represent tissue recipients as a float rider on the Donate Life Float – One More Day, in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA.

The entire five days were full of emotion. I met others like me, alive today because of the generosity of donor families and the commitment of organizations like Community Tissue Services. I met mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, who turned their biggest tragedy into life for others through their giving hearts.

Photos courtesy of Scott Weersing

The day of the parade was beautiful and the excitement was palpable. As I took my seat on the float in the breaking dawn, I was reminded of my donor, knowing this experience would not have happened, save their generosity. As I rode that day, the tears came easily. Some were tears of joy, others tears of sadness. As I watched those in the crowd look at our float, it was amazing to watch the transformation from smiles at the beauty of the float, to tears at the understanding of the float, back to smiles for the riders of the float.

There were many amazing floats at the Rose Parade that day, but dare I say there were none so meaningful as ours. My heartfelt thanks Community Tissue Services, for helping me to inspire others to Donate Life by registering as an organ and tissue donor and for giving me the opportunity to share this wonderful experience with my family.   

More photos from the parade are posted on our Facebook page. We are so pleased to join Kate on this part of her life’s journey. She is full of grace, hope and life. She inspires us all and poignantly illustrates how important our work truly is.