To celebrate National Donate Life Month, Miami Transplant Institute (MTI) at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center is honoring patients, who are celebrating one year post-organ transplant surgery.
Guests will share their personal stories about how organ transplantation has impacted their lives.
For more than 45 years, MTI has been making miracles—by giving a second chance at life to patients from all over the world. MTI is one of the largest and most comprehensive programs in the nation with surgeons performing more than 450 transplants each year. It is also the only center in South Florida to perform every type of organ transplant.
More than 100 attendees, including former patients, doctors, and transplant staff, are expected at the dinner.
The Guest Speakers/ Stories
Christine Ferrante lost her daughter Kaitlyn Ferrante, 21, in a high-profile wrong-way crash in Broward County on November 2013.
Christine and her family made the decision to donate Kaitlyn’s organs. She recently met the recipient of her daughter’s heart, which was transplanted at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The recipient was a critically ill South Florida woman. Christine will be meeting the surgeon that transplanted her daughter’s heart Anthony L. Panos, MD, for the first time.
“When considering donating organs, consider the kinds of miracles it can create,” said Ferrante.
Myriam Correa Sherman became the first Hispanic woman to receive a heart transplant at Jackson Memorial Hospital 25 years ago. She was 44 years old at the time and had suffered from heart disease since childhood.
When she was 10 years old in Colombia, she came down with rheumatic fever – a disease that can develop due to ineffectively treating strep throat or scarlet fever. It left her with a heart lesion, resulting in tissue damage. Sherman lived a normal life, but monitored her heart condition closely with regular doctor check-ups.
After she received her heart transplant, she has since become an advocate and volunteer for organ donation through Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency and began hosting monthly group sessions in Spanish at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“I think the Hispanic community needs someone they can relate to,” Sherman said. “I speak about the process; I guide them and share my story to motivate those that are still on the waiting list.”
Bonnie Glover, 54, received selfless love and support from her husband Craig. Best friends and married for over three decades, Craig was always there for his wife to accomplish her professional and personal goals. When she got sick and was placed on dialysis, he sought help.
Her kidneys had failed, and life on dialysis was no life at all. Fortunately, Bonnie and her husband, Craig, participated in a historic four-way paired kidney exchange – the first one performed in Florida. Made possible by the Miami Transplant Institute’s Paired Kidney Exchange Program – the only initiative of its kind in the region – four people were matched to each donate a kidney to four strangers, all so their loved ones could receive the gift of life.
“My primary motivations were to help her live a full, long, healthy life, that would allow her to be a part of our sons’ lives for many, many years to come,” Craig said. "As a bonus, I am also able to help someone who I do not yet know to also receive the gift of life.”
This selfless act turned Bonnie’s life around and today, one year post-transplant, she is healthy and doing well.