Monday, August 8, 2011

UNCW Alumni Saving Lives - One Organ at a Time

Ginger with the donation recipient.
Ginger DeLario '92 has had an opportunity not many of us experience; she saved a man's life. She had never met this man before, but could give him the one thing he needed to get his life back, a kidney.

Working at Carolina Donor Services (CDS) as the Clinical Education Coordinator, Ginger witnesses true human kindness everyday. "People face the worst tragedy of their lives, yet they are able to see past their pain and donate life to another human being in need. It is truly remarkable." With more than 111,000 people waiting for a transplant across the nation and 3,500 of them right here in North Carolina, the organization's plight is not an easy one.

Ginger was first employed by CDS as a Preservation Coordinator, working long hours and flying all over the country at a moment's notice. She later became an Organ Donation Coordinator who stays on-site at the hospital to medically manage donors and coordinate recovery. In her current role, she oversees employee training and continuing education.

A love for science brought Ginger to UNCW in 1988 to attain a degree in Biology. From there she went to graduate school at Duke University for Clinical Laboratory Science and later received her PhD from American University. "It's funny, when people ask me where I went to school, I always answer UNCW! My husband is perplexed why I don't say Duke or American, but he just doesn't understand... once a Seahawk, always a Seahawk! I still bleed teal after all these years."

Dawn Hall
A colleague at CDS, Dawn Hall '93, echos Ginger's sentiment to our coastal university. "I learned many life lessons from my four years on campus but one that rises to the top is not to take each day for granted." Dawn, who received her degree in English and Teacher Certification from UNCW, believes, "Each position I've held readied me to make the next step that led me to where I am right now. I'm inspired by the gift of life every single day and I'm so thankful that my professional journey led me to do the work I do.".

Working as the Director of Communications and Marketing, Dawn emphasizes the ability of donors to make a lasting impact through the precious gift of donation. "One organ donor can save up to eight lives and a single tissue donor can save or improve the quality of life for up to 50 people. The work we do is truly rewarding. [Donor's families] have told me so many times that donation was the one bright light in an otherwise dismal time in their lives. Knowing their loved one's legacy lives on gives them comfort."

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