Advocate Good Samaritan, Gift of Hope partner to kick off National Donate Life Month

  • Team members at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove gather to raise a Gift of Hope flag April 1 for National Donate Life Month.

    Team members at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove gather to raise a Gift of Hope flag April 1 for National Donate Life Month. Courtesy of Nathan Lurz

Updated 4/3/2019 9:14 PM

Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove and organ donation nonprofit Gift of Hope came together April 1 to celebrate the lives of organ donors across the country and their loved ones as a part of National Donate Life Month.

Team members from across the hospital gathered at 10:08 a.m. for a special flag-raising ceremony outside of the hospital, joining hospitals across the Advocate Aurora Health system and nation. The time signifies the fact that one donor can save as many of eight lives.


The ceremony included comments for Advocate Good Samaritan President Nancy M. Tinsley, RN, MBA, FACHE, a prayer from Chaplain Andy Travis and one minute and 14 seconds of silence to recognize the more than 114,000 patients waiting for lifesaving transplants in the United States.

"This partnership is a very important one," said Critical Care and Progressive Care unit manager Deb Thorgesen. "Gift of Hope helps families understand the choice they face, guide and comfort them and transition into the opportunity to give the gift of life."

Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital is the only Level 1 Trauma Center in DuPage County, and therefore cares for many potential donors and organ recipients alike, Thorgesen said.

Josette Szalko, a donation coordinator at Gift of Hope, said the organization values the hospital's commitment to organ and tissue donation.

"Gift of Hope is incredibly grateful for the strong partnership we have with Advocate Good Samaritan.

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Hospital staff provide an extraordinary level of care and compassion to the community."

Gift of Hope is a federally designated nonprofit agency that coordinates organ and tissue donation and supports families of donors in the northern three-quarters of Illinois and northwest Indiana.

Thorgesen said the flag-raising ceremony was, more than anything, a way to honor families.

"These families make a heroic decision when they decide to donate their loved ones' organs," Thorgesen said. "They continue to live on through saving the lives of others. There is nothing more powerful than that."

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