Brownsville, Texas – April 7, 2017 – “She was a giving, vibrant, charismatic, generous defender of the underdogs,” said Mr. Luis de Anda as he proudly described his daughter, Abigail De Anda, lovingly known as Mil Abis. Ten years ago, just four days after her 17th birthday, Abigail was in a car accident that left her parents making the hardest decisions of their life. During the days Mr. and Mrs. De Anda spent at their daughter’s bedside in the ICU, Mrs. De Anda read educational pamphlets on organ donation, which inspired her to do what she felt was the right thing to do when she learned her daughter would not survive the terrible accident. Mr. and Mrs. De Anda’s decision to donate their daughter’s organs saved six lives. “I knew it was the right thing to do. I know her memory lives on through others and she continues to serve others even though her body is no longer with us,” said Mrs. De Anda. “Her legacy of giving continues and we will never forget her,” said Mr. De Anda. 

After ten months of being away from her ten-year-old son and three-and-a-half year-old daughter, Ms. Marta Torres received a call at 4:00 a.m. prompting her to rush to the hospital to see if the heart waiting for her was compatible for a transplant. Ms. Torres was only 29 years old when she learned she needed a heart transplant and feels blessed to have received the gift of life from a 24-year-old male donor. “Organ donation is a very precious gift that allowed me the opportunity to continue raising my young children who are now 17 and 10 years old. I encourage everyone to consider this amazing gift of life, a second chance,” Ms. Torres expressed with deep appreciation. 

On April 5, 2017, Valley Regional Medical Center staff and the community celebrated Mr. and Mrs. Luis De Anda and all donor families for their decision to save lives through organ donation. Ms. Marta Torres, a heart transplant recipient thanked her anonymous donor and all donors while sharing her story. 

Every April, Donate Life America, Donate Life Texas and its partners like Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA) focus attention on how every individual has the potential to make LIFE possible by registering their decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. The Texas Organ Sharing Alliance and Valley Regional Medical Center use the month-long observation to also honor organ donors that have saved lives in our community. 

The 2017 National Donate Life Month (NDLM) artwork chosen to illustrate the power of donation uses pinwheels to tell the donation story. Pinwheels capture and pass on energy. Each Donate Life pinwheel has four sails supported by one stem. The one stem symbolizes the power of one person to save and heal lives through donation. The four sails represent organ, eye, tissue and living donation, the four ways one person can save and heal more than 75 lives through organ, eye and tissue donation, and even save a life through the gift of living donation.

Pinwheels are also symbolic of transformation, turning obstacles into opportunities. The image of the pinwheel reminds us that we all have the potential power to save and heal lives. This April, we encourage you to watch the pinwheels transform the breeze into colorful motion, think of the lives touched by donation and transplantation and register to be a donor. 

Currently, 54 percent of the U.S. adult population are registered organ, eye and tissue donors, and

46 percent in Texas. Yet the number of people in need of transplants continues to outpace the number of organs donated. More than 119,000* people are waiting for an organ transplant, with

11,000 of those patients in Texas. Many of these children and adults are awaiting kidneys. On average, 22 people die each day because the organ they need is not donated in time. 

Texans are encouraged to sign up as organ and tissue donors through Donate Life Texas, or at Texas Department of Public Safety or the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. For information on organ donation and community initiatives, contact TOSA at 866-685-0277.

*Based on OPTN data as of January 2017


About Valley Regional Medical Center

Valley Regional Medical Center is conveniently located at the corner of Expressway 77 and Alton Gloor Boulevard in Brownsville. With physicians representing over 25 specialties, Valley Regional Medical Center is a leader in a vast array of high quality programs, including advanced diagnostic imaging, interventional cardiac catheterization, open- heart surgery, laparoscopic and endoscopic surgeries, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, women’s services, pediatric services and neonatal intensive care. Valley Regional Medical is a nationally accredited Advanced Primary Stroke Center and our Emergency Department is designated as an Advanced Level III Trauma Center treating a wide range of emergent needs 24 hours a day. For more information on Valley Regional Medical Center’s programs and services, visit our website at  Valley Regional Medical Center.

About HCA Gulf Coast Division

HCA Gulf Coast Division is a comprehensive network of hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, emergency centers, and diagnostic imaging facilities. It offers a complete continuum of specialized health programs and services that meet the needs of Greater Houston and South Texas’ residents and businesses.  HCA affiliated facilities in the Gulf Coast Division include: 13 hospitals, 8 ambulatory centers, 6 off-campus emergency centers, and a regional transfer center that provides one-phone-call access and support for patient transfers into and out of the HCA Gulf Coast Division Affiliated Hospitals, as well as access to ground and air transportation within a 150-mile radius. For more information, visit our website at  HCA Gulf Coast.

About Texas Organ Sharing Alliance

Texas Organ Sharing Alliance is one of 58 federally designated Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) in the United States. Founded in 1975 as a not-for-profit corporation, TOSA covers 56 counties in Central and South Texas. TOSA is committed to providing organ donation and recovery services to families wishing to donate, and to those waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

About Donate Life Texas

Donate Life Texas is the official state registry for organ, eye and tissue donors. It is a member of the Donate Life America registry network and is supported by all three Texas-based organ procurement organizations, which includes Texas Organ Sharing Alliance. Established in 2006, Donate Life Texas has over 9.1 million registrants and is one of the fastest-growing registries in the country.

About Donate Life America

Donate Life America is a 501(c)3 nonprofit alliance of national organizations and Donate Life State Teams across the United States committed to increasing the number of donated organs, eyes and tissue available for transplant to save and heal lives. Donate Life America manages and promotes the national brand for donation, Donate Life℠; develops and executes effective multi-media donor education programs; motivates the American public to register now as organ, eye and tissue donors; maintains the National Donate Life Registry,; and assists Donate Life State Teams and national partners in facilitating high-performing donor registration programs.