Date: 4/10/2012

Hospitals honor Life Donors with Silent Salute

During the month of April, another flag flies under the stars and stripes at the front entrances of Community Hospital in Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. The “Donate Life” flag will be flown every day at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System as part of the observance of National Donate Life month.

“The Donate Life flag serves as a reminder of those who have given another human being the most precious gift of all — another chance at life,” said John Gorski, Chief Operating Officer for Community Healthcare System. “When visitors are entering our hospitals and see the Donate Life flag, we hope they will stop, take notice and take action to sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor.”

Through the Fly the Flag program, the hospitals of Community Healthcare System are joining a national initiative to honor and celebrate donors and recipients whose lives have been affected by organ, eye and tissue donation. During the other 11 months of the year, the hospitals raise the Donate Life flag for 48 hours following each donation as a silent salute and also send a garden-size version of the flag to family members as a keepsake and to honor their final act of love and generosity.

“We’re proud to participate in the Fly the Flag program and make such a visible and unified statement about the importance of donation,” said Gorski. “It is our hope that by flying the flag, we can start a dialogue that encourages residents to make their wishes known and register as organ or tissue donors.”

Donor registration drives are planned at St. Catherine Hospital, 4321 Fir Street in East Chicago from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 and St. Mary Medical Center, 1500 S. Lake Park Avenue in Hobart from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the Waterfall café on Wednesday, April 25. Hospital development coordinator Alice Jenkins from Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network will be at St. Mary Medical Center’s registration drive to answer questions concerning donations. Call 219-793-3904 for more information.

Also on Wednesday, April 25, St. Mary Medical Center will conduct a Donate Life prayer service from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the new chapel. Pastoral Services staff Jim Stoel, Sr. Mary O’Hara and Paul Newman-Jacobs will preside over the gathering.

Under Indiana’s Donor Choice Law, individuals 18 and older may declare their intention to donate, and family members are not able to override that intention at the time of death. Individuals under age 18 may declare their donation intentions with the permission of a parent or legal guardian, who must also provide consent for donation at the time of a minor’s death.

Year round through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Indiana residents can register their intent to be organ and tissue donors while obtaining or renewing their drivers’ license. On the application of all licenses and non-driver identification cards, a space exists in which the holder can indicate his or her intention to make an anatomical gift and to indicate the extent of that gift. An individual’s wish to be a donor is designated by a red heart on the front of the license or ID card.

Registration also is accepted at