As the sun rose over Keck Hospital of USC on April 5, staff members from the USC Transplant Institute gathered together to celebrate organ and tissue donation by raising a flag in honor of National Donate Life Month.

“We are proud to honor and celebrate our courageous donors and their families,” said Rod Hanners, COO of Keck Medicine of USC and CEO of Keck Medical Center of USC. “This flag will act as a reminder of the immense role donors and their families play in healing our society.”

Established in 2003, National Donate Life Month occurs every April and features local, regional and national activities that encourage Americans to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor.

Keck Medicine of USC physicians specialize in a variety of transplantation procedures and are involved in all aspects of treatment, from the pre-evaluation to surgery and post-surgery phases of transplant. Since its inception in 1991, the USC Transplant Institute has overseen more than 4,000 transplant procedures.

Besides the month of April, the Donate Life flag is raised in front of Keck Hospital of USC for one week each time an organ donation occurs. Keck Hospital of USC and the USC Transplant Institute also provide a Donate Life flag to the families of deceased donors, courtesy of partner organization OneLegacy.

“Donate Life Month and raising the Donate Life flag allows us to take a moment to reflect and truly recognize the selfless gifts made by so many generous organ and tissue donors and families,” said Chris Jones, transplant administrator for Keck Medicine of USC. “The decision to donate organs and tissues may be a difficult one, but when the choice has been made, lives are saved or forever impacted. It’s an amazing circle of life and we are proud to be able to celebrate donation and transplantation throughout the month of April.”

— Matthew Vasiliauskas