Seton, Texas Organ Sharing Alliance honor organ donors

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Tree of Life Ceremony hosted at Dell Seton

 Kristin Lester was given 30 days to live after a variety of heart problems. After nearly dying, she woke up in the ICU with a machine doing the work for her no-longer functioning heart.

Seventeen days later, Lester received a heart transplant at Ascension Seton Heart Specialty Care & Transplant Center and now lives an active, fulfilling life with her family.

Seton is part of Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system.

On Sept. 29, Lester shared her story during the Tree of Life Ceremony, which honored Dell Ascension Seton Medical Center’s organ donors. Family members and loved ones of organ donors were also present for the program.

The Tree of Life is a piece of artwork to commemorate those who donated organs and saved lives. Ten new names were added to the artwork on Sept. 29 during the ceremony.

In 2013, TOSA and Ascension Seton created the Tree of Life wall memorial at University Medical Center Brackenridge, the first memorial of its kind in Austin.

Leaves with donor’s names are added to the tree every two years. This year’s re-dedication honored all families who lost loved ones. The Tree of Life now resides at Dell Ascension Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, Seton’s newest teaching hospital.

Dell Ascension Seton, anticipated to be Central Texas’ only Level I Trauma Center for adults, is a major center for organ donations in partnership with TOSA, a not-for-profit dedicated to educating and providing organ donation and recovery services to families wishing to donate and to those waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.