The Tiger Team Gives the Gift of Life
By Ed Pierce, Managing Editor // April 12, 2012
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The ultimate act of kindness is practiced daily by the dedicated medical professionals promoting organ and tissue donation at Health First in Brevard County, Florida.
Called the Tiger Team, the group strives to create public awareness of the need for organ and tissue donation through a variety of programs including seminars, clinical presentations, a school outreach contest and an annual conference drawing together some of the top healthcare providers and residents of the community.
Dee Rogers of Health First has been associated with the Tiger Team program for years and says each year the Tiger Team grows further and continues to expand its efforts in Brevard and beyond.
“The Tiger Team has existed at Cape Canaveral Hospital for years, but now a newly formed team at Holmes Regional Medical Center will also cover Palm Bay Hospital and Viera Hospital,” she said.
“And this has the full support of EAGLES, Health First’s associates giving program.
Truly A Team
Each Tiger Team pulls together nurses, physicians, surgeons, ancillary Health First staff members and medical procurement professionals from such agencies as TransLife, the Southeast Tissue Alliance and the Medical Eye Bank of Florida to increase the availability and use of organ and tissue donations.
This is made possible through ongoing educational programs encouraging individuals to sign donor cards.
“Many Tiger Team participants are also associates that are not engaged in direct patient care, but just have a desire and a passion for our goal and mission,” Rogers said.
And the mission is immense. The United Network for Organ Sharing says more than 110,000 individuals across America are currently on waiting lists for organ transplants and thousands more are waiting for the gift of sight, or organs, bones, or tissues that will help save their lives.
Every organ donor can save the lives of five to seven people, and a single tissue donor can improve the lives of between 100 to 150 patients.
Rogers praised the EAGLES program (Every Associate’s Gift Leaves Everlasting Spirit), for contributing more than $1.6 million since 2001 to help fund Tiger Team events such as the annual Life, Keep It Going Conference and shine the spotlight on the critical need for organ and tissue donation locally.
She said this year’s LKIG Conference was held Oct. 14 at the Melbourne Beach Oceanfront Hotel in Indialantic and was warmly received by those who attended.
“This year’s theme was ‘The Gift of Life, How We Make It Happen’ and it was so meaningful and significant,” Rogers said.
“The last 45 minutes of the conference was a celebration of the young people whose drawings were selected for the 2012 LKIG Calendar.”
You Can Make A Difference
Winning contributions of students from throughout Brevard County were revealed at the conference in the culmination of the 11th annual Donor Awareness Art/Poetry Contest with top submissions included in the new calendar.
Since the Tiger Team program was introduced almost two decades ago, Rogers said donor referrals have increased steadily each year. And, the program also has given numerous patient assistance grants to transplant recipients to help offset the cost of their surgeries, and sponsored several athletes at the U.S. Transplant Games.
All Health First associates are welcome to join the Tiger Teams, and input from the community for future projects and ways to promote donor awareness are always welcome.
“We want everyone to know you can make a difference in the lives of others,” Rogers said.
“We believe everyone should discuss organ and tissue donation with your own family members and help us in this vital work.”
For information about Tiger team meetings at Holmes Regional Medical Center, Palm Bay Hospital and Viera Hospital call Dee Rogers at 321-434-1966; or for Cape Canaveral Hospital, call Tammy Adams at 321-434-7188.