Rams to Host Transplant Awareness Day

Posted Nov 21, 2012

On Sunday, December 2, Rams fans will have plenty to cheer about when the home team hosts the division rival San Francisco 49ers. The Rams and the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center are teaming up to host a “Transplant Awareness Day” at the Edward Jones Dome.

“Transplant Awareness Day allows us to show the community the exceptional results we have achieved in our solid organ transplant programs,” Jeffrey S. Crippin, M.D., Co-Chair, Transplant Steering Committee and Medical Director, Liver transplantation said. “Having our patients participate will show St. Louis and the region how the gift of life and organ donation lets patients with organ failure return to a normal lifestyle.”

The purpose of the event will be twofold: education and celebration. Barnes-Jewish Hospital will provide information about their industry-leading transplant program throughout the game, while also honoring the success stories of many of their patients.

“We wanted to give (our) patients a chance to share their stories and highlight how we’re one of the premiere programs in the country,” Kami Bathon, from the Barnes-Jewish Hospital communications and marketing department said. “Our patients who have transplants are very connected to our program and have very inspiring stories. They’re also a great representation of what the hospital is all about.”

As part of the event, 100 transplant patients – plus one guest each – will be able to attend the Rams game, courtesy of the Transplant Center. The guests will also receive a co-branded shirt featuring the Rams and the Transplant Center.

“The Rams are such a big draw here in St. Louis and such a great organization that we really wanted to be able to give our patients the opportunity to go to a game. We know that it’s a special experience,” Bathon said.

While celebrating the patients and honoring them for the obstacles they have overcome is an important aspect of the event, there is an informative side as well. Barnes-Jewish Hospital is setting up a variety of avenues to reach Rams fans and others to educate them on the transplant program. Prior to the game, Barnes-Jewish Hospital will have a booth stationed at the Bud Light Tailgate Party in Baer Park. Once the game gets underway, people can pick up information about the transplant program or general transplant information at one of two tables set up throughout the concourses at the Edward Jones Dome.

“It’s a great audience for us to be able to raise awareness around transplants and about our center as a whole,” Bathon said.

When Barnes-Jewish Hospital began their first transplant program in 1963, it was just the sixteenth such program worldwide. They began with kidney transplants, and progressed to liver and heart transplants in 1985, lung transplants in 1988 and pancreas transplants in 2003. The center currently has over 1,000 people on its waiting list for those four organs, even after completing 431 transplants last year.

Barnes-Jewish Hospital guides its patients throughout the entire process. For starters, the patients come in via referral and an evaluation is completed to see if they qualify. From there, they are put on a waiting list and Barnes-Jewish Hospital keeps tabs on the patient until a donor organ is found and the transplant takes place. Following the operation, Barnes-Jewish Hospital continues to keep a close relationship with the patient to make sure their health is maintained.

As a team sponsor, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Rams have partnered in a variety of other programs to highlight important health matters. Bathon said because of this existing relationship, Barnes-Jewish Hospital was able to transition and focus on transplants as well.

“We feel it’s really important that people understand the conditions that lead to transplants,” Bathon said. “And not only that, but also what their options are for transplants and why our center is one of the best in the nation.”

To learn more about the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center and program, or for more information on transplants in general, visit here or call 866-TOP-DOCS.