Village of WestmontDate Issued: March 4, 2015
“The purpose of this event is to raise awareness regarding the vital need for blood, bone marrow, and organ & tissue donors,” says Westmont resident and heart transplant recipient Gwendolyn Westlund. “We’re launching an educational campaign that brings various entities together so that we can demonstrate the importance of this cause.”
Westlund has coordinated a new event titled “Recycled Life” to promote organ and tissue donation. The event will be held at the Westmont High School, 909 Oakwood Drive, Westmont, Illinois 60559 in the commons area at the main entrance. The event is free to the public.
“We as recipients and survivors need to lead this campaign and rally the public to support this initiative, because quite simply, we wouldn’t be here otherwise,” adds Westlund. “Education and awareness is the key and we want to let people know just how important this issue is. The simple fact is that organ donation saves lives, and I’m a living proof. Now we’re inviting everyone to come meet me and other recipients as well as a team of educators to ask questions, get answers, and make a decision fueled by humanity and facts.”
Westlund’s personal story of being a survivor is quite miraculous. In 2002, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The radiation treatments she received at that time saved her life, but left scarring around her heart, which caused a prolapsed mitral valve and CHF. Her condition was managed through exercise, diet and medication for almost a decade, but then in May of 2013, Gwendolyn suddenly went into end stage heart failure. After numerous surgeries, blood transfusions, life support, and over two months in the hospital, she was able to go home with an LVAD, which was needed to sustain her life while she waited for a perfect heart match. Then, on October 25, 2013, Gwendolyn received the gift of life and got a donor heart.
“I feel I’ve been pulled back from death multiple times in my life,” says Westlund. “Now it’s my goal to pay it forward and raise awareness for this important issue. I ask everyone to consider signing up to be a blood and organ donor.”
RECYCLED LIFE EVENT SCHEDULEMarch 28, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.Westmont High School
9 a.m. - 3 p.m. - LIFESOURCE BLOOD DRIVETo schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 877-543-3768 or visit lifesource.org - use code 177G
9 a.m. - 3 p.m. - BE THE MATCHLearn about bone marrow donation and should you choose, get a simple test to see if you’re someone’s match.
11 a.m. - 3 p.m. - LIFE GOES ON DONOR EDUCATIONThere will be 15-minute educational programs presented from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Gift of Hope Volunteers, Advocate Christ Medical Center Transplant Nurses, various medical professionals, and donor recipients will be on hand to answer questions and share experiences.
ALSO………………..* Westmont Mayor Ron Gunter will present a proclamation regarding the Village of Westmont’s support of National Organ Donor Awareness Month* The Westmont Lions Club will be on hand with recycled sight and hearing donation drop boxes - * * Bring in your unwanted glasses, frames and hearing aids* Westmont businesses will showcase food and goods for sale* Meet members of the Chicago Thunder Football Team* Kids Activities - Face painting, recycled crafts, hero posters, and earth hour ideas* Free music and family entertainment* Free prize drawings for program participants* & more special guests!
The Westmont First Committee, the Westmont SADD organization, and Sweet & Savory Restaurant are assisting with the event as well. For more information, contact Gwendolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.twitter.com/RecycledLife13 or the Facebook event page “Gwendolyn’s Recycled Life”.