FORT MYERS, Fla – (February 13, 2016) – Earlier today, HealthPark Medical Center raised a flag in honor of the lives soon to be saved through organ and tissue donation, literally. At 12 noon, a Donate Life flag was raised from the hospital’s flagpole in recognition of fifteen-year-old Alexis Bonadies and the numerous lives she will save and enhance through her gifts of organ, eye and tissue donation. Alexis Bonadies, a fifteen-year-old Riverdale High School student, tragically passed away yesterday as the result of a sudden medical event that occurred during a routine workout session on February 3rd. At the time of event she was immediately taken to HealthPark Medical Center where hospital professionals made all lifesaving measures on her behalf, but unfortunately the neurological injuries caused by Alexis’s medical event were non-survivable.
Because Alexis had chosen to register as an organ and tissue donor while recently getting her driver license permit at the Lee County Tax Collector’s Office, her family chose to honor her donation wishes and now potentially three lives will be saved through the donation of her liver and both kidneys; two individuals will receive the gift of restored sight because of her corneas; and countless other lives will be enhanced thanks to her gifts of tissue donation. During the Donate Life flag raising, Alexis’s family and hospital representatives gathered to celebrate the memory of a young lady whose life was cut tragically short at an early age, but whose legacy will live on for years to come through the lives of those she will save and enhance through her gifts of organ, eye and tissue donation.
Today was the first Donate Life flag raising ceremony to take place at HealthPark Medical Center. The event is part of a year-round, ongoing initiative of the Lee Memorial Health System where anytime organ donation takes place at any of their four hospital campuses -including HealthPark Medical Center- a Donate Life flag is flown for three days. This is done in tribute to the respective organ donor and their family, in addition to serving as a reminder to hospital staff, visitors and the community of that individual’s generous, heroic and lifesaving decision. After three days, the flag is brought down and presented to the family as a keepsake.
Today, we encourage everyone to follow the examples of Alexis Bonadies and all other individuals whose gifts will be noted by Donate Life flags and take action to save lives. Register on Florida’s organ and tissue donor registry by visiting www.DonateLifeFlorida.org, or while receiving or renewing your driver license.
One organ donor can potentially save the lives of eight people, and improve the lives of dozens more through tissue donation. Donation, with the primary exception of living donation, occurs after death and deciding to register as a donor does not impact one’s medical care should an illness or accident occur. People of all ages can choose to donate and help others in need, and donation is supported by all major religions as a personal choice and act of generosity. Donation places no financial burden on the donor’s family.
Contact LifeLink of Florida for more information about organ and tissue donation. LifeLink of Florida is a non-profit community service organization dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissues for transplantation. To register as an organ and/or tissue donor, visit www.DonateLifeFlorida.org.