This October will mark the one-year anniversary of Howard Cox becoming a changed man. Cox, a Physician’s Assistant at San Luis Valley Health, was the organ recipient of a new kidney and pancreas in October of last year.
A Type 1 Diabetes sufferer since age five, Cox had begun to experience End-Stage Renal Disease. End-Stage Renal Disease is when the kidneys are no longer able to work at a level needed for day-to-day life.
“Kidneys are the most common organ that is needed, so I was extremely fortunate to be a recipient,” explained Cox. “The average wait time for kidneys varies from region to region but four years can be a realistic estimate.” However, pancreas transplant is far less common and as a result, Cox was listed for only one year before the double transplant.
Not only did the transplant save Cox’s life, but enhanced it as well. Today, he lives without Type 1 Diabetes and without any of its symptoms. He also has restored renal function. Consequently, he has become trained as a representative for Donor Alliance.
Donor Alliance is the federally-designated, non-profit organ procurement organization and an American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) accredited tissue bank serving Colorado and most of Wyoming. As a recognized leader in facilitating the donation and recovery of transplantable organs and tissues, Donor Alliance’s mission is to save lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
“Our goals are to educate the public about organ and tissue donation, and then share the benefits through stories like mine,” stated Cox. Cox has undergone the training to work as an "Advocate" for the organization. The organization's "Advocates" are individuals whose lives have been touched by donation. They are recipients or donor families, or people who are waiting for transplant.
Donor Alliance will be at San Luis Valley Health Regional Medical Center on Tuesday, August 26th from 11 am until 2 pm to provide information to visitors, patients, and staff. It is possible to sign up to be an organ and/or tissue donor at the event.
If you have questions regarding the event, please call San Luis Valley Health Education Coordinator Dawn Weed at 719-587-1422.