Association Award at the Organmeetings “Organ Donation – Chain of Life”

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Association Award at the Organmeetings “Organ Donation – Chain of Life” HCFA TEAM June 3, 2024

Association Award at the Organmeetings “Organ Donation – Chain of Life”

Demeter, Peter, Leonardo are just a few of the transplanted patients with Cystic Fibrosis, who, along with other patients, took to the stage of the National Theatre and shared with us their stories about the Unlimited Breath they gained through transplantation. Recipients and families of organ donors, together with people who with dedication and love work tirelessly to make the miracle of transplantation a reality, have all become one big hug.

As an Association we are proud to have participated in the Organmeetings 2023 transplant information seminars. Our Association continues to be aa helper andsupporter in this great national effort of the Eof the Greek Transplantation Organisation, the Onassis Foundation and the Onassis Foundation for the upgrading of transplantation and organ donation in Greece. Through our campaign “Unlimited Breath- Be a life donor” and our murals with Stella and Lena on the exterior walls of major hospitals across the country, Cystic Fibrosis patients invite each of you to become an organ donor and give us the 2nd chance at life.“, said the President of the Panhellenic Cystic Fibrosis Association, Anna Spinou, who received the Association’s commemorative award at the Organmeetings transplant program, along with Rev. Secretary, Maria Paliou.

The a loyalty booster the received the Panhellenic Cystic Fibrosis Association at “Organ Donation – Chain of Life ” event for its participation in the Organmeetings 2023-2024 transplant programme. An information programme, organised by the Onassis Foundation, the Hellenic Transplantation Organisation (HTO) and the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre, which aims to raise awareness about transplantation and organ donation.

The moving event took place on Thursday 30 May 2024, at the Main Stage of the National Theatre. Commemorative awards were received the Businesses, Institutions, Organisations and Associations that participated in the Organmeetings 2023 webinars. The event was attended by representatives of official bodies. Dozens of recipients and relatives of organ donors shared their stories and sent a strong message of organ donation in the packed hall of the Central Stage of the National Theatre, where the awards ceremony took place. At the same time, for the first time in Greece, organ donor families of the past year were honoured.

We support transplants with actions!
Become an organ donor on the website of the Hellenic Transplantation Organisation

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The following is the Onassis Foundation Press Release

“Organ Donation. The first year of the Organmeetings information programme culminated with a unique event organized by the Onassis Foundation.

The event “Organ Donation. Chain of Life”, which was the culmination of the Organmeetings information programme for its first year of implementation. The aim of the action, which is organised and supported by the Onassis Foundation with the scientific guidance of the Hellenic Transplantation Organisation and the Onassis Hospital, is to raise awareness of organ donation and transplantation, in an effort to create a large chain of information and life.

From the stage of the National Theatre, which is anything but alien to stories and narratives that generate strong human emotions, everyday heroes, who through organ donation offered a second chance at life, as well as health professionals, who serve organ donation and transplantation, spoke about the chain of life that unites them. Their common denominator was the belief in the supreme value of donation, but also the importance of trust and proper information for donor families and recipients during the difficult times of waiting and decision making in the hospital. This unique event for the country’s public health brought together the protagonists of life: organ donor families, recipients who have been given a second chance at life, doctors and transplant coordinators who link the links in this great chain. Next to them were institutional representatives of the State and the Onassis Foundation. Together they shared stories and emotions, talked about values and good practices and conveyed the message that organ donation – as the ultimate gift of life – concerns us all.

At the event, which was moderated by the journalist Michalis Kefalogiannis, the 86 businesses, institutions, organisations and associations – and, through them, more than 1,200 people – who participated in 2023 in the three online seminars of the Organmeetings programme were rewarded.

“Transplantation is a vision that contains us all. It asks each and every one of us for our fair share of responsibility, the boundless hope they can offer and the promise to change an entire society,” said President of the Onassis Foundation, Mr. Antonis Papadimitriou, and added: “In this journey we want society to be present, changing without fear. We are becoming, he said in his address to the event, the missing link in the great chain of information, which we hope will become a great chain of life.

The ultimate goal of the Organmeetings is for the participants to return to their families in the evening and open up the discussion about organ donation in the home, thus removing doubts and prejudices.

As stated by the Coordinator of Transplantation of EOM, Ms Yuli Menoudakou, by participating in the Organmeetings programme, “a common system of values is strengthened, greater social cohesion is built and solidarity and giving to the unknown fellow human being is cultivated”.

In the framework of the event, on the initiative of the Onassis Foundation, three donor families of the past year were honoured by the State – and, through them, a big “thank you” was expressed to the 1,522 organ donors included in the EOM’s list and to their families, several of whom attended the event live. They were handed a pendant with two rings, one of which was engraved with the first name of the donor, while the second ring represented the anonymous recipient. The same medallion is given to the 87 families who consented to the donation of their loved one’s organs in 2023.

The Main Stage of the National Theatre became a meeting place for the personal narratives of people with a common reference point of transcendence. Where pain, loss and illness are transformed into life.

Mr. Michalis Paleologos travelled from Syros to be honoured and share his own story of how he took the decision to donate the organs of his wife, Flora, to Attica Hospital. “We had discussed it and I made her wish come true. I’m very proud because at the most difficult time in our lives we gave a good moment to someone else.” said and was honoured by the President of the Hellenic Parliament, Mr. Konstantinos Tasoulas, which marked the symbolic beginning of the State’s recognition of the importance of families’ decision to donate the organs of their loved one.

The Ms. Maria Kalogerou did not hide her feelings as she described with tears the moment she was told that her son, Panagiotis Ippolitos, was brain dead: “I am grateful because my child was treated with so much love and humanity in “Sotiria”, in ICU 4. I felt elated when I decided to donate his organs. Panagiotis left me but he saved 6 lives”. Mrs Kalogerou was honoured by the President of the Onassis Foundation, Mr. Antonis Papadimitriou.

Mr. Georgios Papatheodoridis, for the decision of him and his brothers to donate the organs of their 79-year-old father, who ended up in the “Papanikolaou” hospital. “We never imagined that our father at that age could be an organ donor. As soon as the doctors told us, we said yes. Organ donation is only an act of love” said Mr. Daskalakis.

The carpenter Mr. Yannis Kremmidas, set builder at the National Theatre, spoke about the most difficult period of his life, when due to heart failure he did not have the strength to hold his newborn second child in his arms: “I spent 5 months in hospital waiting for the chance to return home to my family. Today my heart is beating faster and I’m not afraid anymore. I feel so grateful for this incredible gift of life.” he said.

Ms Ioanna Sarris-Balasi, mother of 17-year-old donor Nektaria, who left behind the lives of five people, said: “Information is important. It should not just be limited to the fact that organ donation gives life. The person being asked to make such a decision needs information about the whole process, how brain death is ascertained and what safeguards are in place. For us, the important thing is that today there are five more people keeping Nectaria’s memory alive.”.

The Director of the Children and Adolescents ICU of the University Hospital of Patras, Mr. Andreas Eliades, coming on stage excitedly said: “Our sole purpose is to save our young patients. Sometimes, however, we will not succeed. Many times, parents, after listening to them and listening to us, say ‘yes, we want to give life’ and then as doctors, from one ICU bed, we have to rescue 5 other little patients.”

An important link in this chain of life – which has contributed significantly to the increase in organ donations and transplants – are the 7 Transplant Coordinators, a new institution supported by the Onassis Foundation in the framework of the National Initiative for Organ Donation and Transplantation.

One of them, Mrs. Fani Ploiarchopoulou, local transplant coordinator at the hospitals “Sotiria” and “Georgios Gennimatas”, stressed that for the last two years the coordinators have been contributing not only to the donation part but also to the cultivation of a relationship of trust with the doctors: “Informing doctors involved in donation – and not only them – is part of our role.”

In the same vein, Ms Irini Kitsou, Transplant Coordinator at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre, said: “We are family with the patients. We embrace them and keep them informed of all procedures – we share their anxiety, fear and fear. We build relationships of trust and safety that unite us even when they come to the hospital for the big gift but the transplant process cannot be achieved.”

In the last and most emotional act of the event, and amidst continuous applause, people who have had a second chance to study, to work, to play sports, to embrace their child again and to see it grow up, took to the stage to thank and bow, together, to the families of the donors in the audience, but also to honour the 1,522 donors in total, thanks to whom the second chance at life became a reality. Earlier, representatives of the State and the Onassis Heart Surgery Centre spoke from their own perspective about the joint effort to strengthen this chain of life in our country.

The event was opened by the President of the Hellenic Parliament, Mr. Konstantinos Tasoulas, who among other things said: “Proper information helps to de-dramatise the issue of organ donation and make us realise that it is not only a priceless act of altruism but also an act of self-preservation. Our ambition is to catch up with Spain, Portugal and Italy in terms of the annual number of organ donors in ten years. We can achieve this with the lifeblood of the Onassis Charitable Foundation, the efforts of the EOM, the donors, the doctors, the companies and the associations that support this endeavour.”.

The President of the Hellenic Transplantation Organisation, Mr. George Papatheodorides, said: “Donors have been increasing over the last three years, and in 2024 we are already seeing a further increase in donations. Citizens’ trust in the health system can provide a solid basis for increasing organ donation in our country. This trust can be strengthened by optimal organisation and by strengthening the system with 28 new coordinators – whose positions have already been advertised.

The President of the Onassis Heart Surgery Centre, Mr. Ioannis Boletis, underlined: “Onassis has a significant background in transplants, having performed the first heart transplant and implementing a lung transplant programme since 2020, under which 40 transplants have already been performed. It is very important to show our gratitude to donors and families by improving the quality and outcomes of transplants in our country. Donation is not only an act of altruism. In our lifetime we are much more likely to need an organ transplant than to donate ourselves.”

Organ Meetings
The Organmeetings (
) are organised by the Onassis Foundation, under the scientific auspices of the Hellenic Transplantation Organisation and with the support of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre. They are addressed to Media, Institutions, Organisations – private or public -, Associations with social work and Companies / Enterprises, which would like to link their CSR policy with information about organ donation. The webinars are conducted by specialised representatives and partners of the Hellenic Transplantation Organisation with the support of the Onassis Foundation and those interested can fill in the relevant participation form: