Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Future of TODF

Dear TODF supporters,

A little more than three years ago I founded the Tennessee Organ Donation Foundation, Inc. (TODF) with the help of several others. We had two goals: 1) improve awareness about the need for more organ and tissue donors in order to help more people receive life-saving organ transplants, and 2) help transplant recipients with post-transplant financial needs. I’m thrilled to say we have been able to do both.

During the last three years our accomplishments include:
  • Our participation in nine events sharing with Tennesseans about the importance of organ and tissue donation. 
  • The distribution of approximately 400 brochures at those events containing information about organ and tissue donation and how to register as a donor. 
  • The registering of a few people as donors via the internet at our events. 
  • Plus, we helped over a half dozen transplant recipients with various financial needs, such as their anti-rejection medications.
Our website, blog, and Facebook pages have been popular and been visited by hundreds of people. The website has provided a way for folks to make memorial contributions to TODF to honor and remember family and friends who gave the gift of life when they passed away. 

All of us at TODF feel blessed to have been a part of all this. However, due to a number of reasons, over the last year TODF’s leadership has been contemplating TODF’s future, and unfortunately, we have come to the conclusion it is time to cease operations. All of the paperwork necessary to officially close TODF is in process.

On behalf of the Board, Officers, and others, I want to sincerely thank all who have attended our events, made financial contributions, volunteered, and supported our endeavor the last three years. I want to encourage all of you to continue to be advocates for and support organ and tissue donation. I am alive today because of the miracle of a second chance at life it provides.

Johnny Black,
Executive Director, Board Chair, and Founder
Tennessee Organ Donation Foundation, Inc.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Making the Journey from Transplant Patient to Caregiver

At the age of 24, Ken Sutha was dying of kidney failure. He needed a kidney transplant, so his father became his living donor. The procedure was performed at Emory. Since then, Ken's health has greatly improved to the point that he's became a competitive athlete. His athletic prowess has led hm to compete in triathlons, and he won three medals in swimming at the 2010 U.S. Transplant Games.

University of Washington quad in Spring
University of Washington quad in Spring (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ken's athletic success is not the most amazing part of his recovery, though. The Georgia Transplant Foundation gave him a four-year scholarship to Emory University School of Medicine. After graduation, Ken moved to Seattle, WA and now trains as a pediatrician at the University of Washington and at Seattle Children's Hospital where, sometimes, he takes care of both pre- and post-transplant children.

What a story - from being the transplant patient to taking care of kids who may either need transplants or have just received them. Ken's story is a great example of the types of miracles that can come from organ and tissue donation. If you would like to learn more about organ and tissue donation, or learn how to register in the state where you live, please visit our website www. by clicking here.

Read more - article titled "From Kidney Transplant Recipient to Emory Medical School Graduate"

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Great Way to Say "Thank You"

An Ohio heart transplant recipient, Adam Burkhart, is honoring the man who saved his life in a very special and unique way - he named his daughter, Mattyn, after him. There was a time when Adam did not know if he would live long enough to have a family, but now, thanks to his donor, Matthew, he is enjoying every day with his wife and two daughters.

English: The illustration shows the major sign...
English: The illustration shows the major signs and symptoms of heart failure. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
At the age of six(6), Adam was diagnosed with familial cardiomyopathy. Unfortunately, the disease runs through this mother's side of his family. The disease did not affect Adam until one day, at the age of 17, he could not run anymore while playing soccer. Doctors diagnosed him with heart failure, and he learned a transplant was in his future. In September 2000, Adam received the life-saving heart transplant he needed and has been in good health since.

Since his transplant, Adam has advocated for organ and tissue donation and met the parents of his donor. When he asked them about naming his daughter after their heroic son, they were thrilled. What a great way to say "thank you" and continue the life-saving legacy of Adam's donor, Matthew.

If you would like to read more about Adam, Matthew, and Mattyn's story, you can do so on in their article titled "Local Man Names His Daughter After Donor Who Saved His Life" by clicking here.

For more information about organ and tissue donation and to register as a donor where you live, please visit our website,, by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Test for Heart Transplant Rejection

Researchers at Stanford University have completed a study on a new method of checking for organ rejection in heart transplant recipients. The test, known as the cell free DNA test, simply measures the amount of the donor's DNA showing up in the recipient's blood. As these amounts increase, it indicates the early stages of rejection.

Unidentified persons in operating room
Unidentified persons in operating room (Photo credit: Stanford Medical History Center)
Currently, many heart transplant patients have to endure the invasiveness of a heart biopsy in order to check for rejection. These biopsies can cause problems of their own, including heart arrhythmia's and valve damage, not to mention the uncomfortableness of the biopsy. What may be even more important, though, is that the new blood test, could indicate the onset of rejection several months before it would be detected with a biopsy. As with other medical issues, early detection is often vital to successful treatment. Organ rejection is no different.

These findings are great news for heart transplant recipients. To read more of the article on titled ""New Blood Test May Help Detect Heart Transplant Rejection", please click here.