Patti Dean, Community Education Coordinator, LifeNet Health
Q: Three things you want folks to know about you.
- I am originally from the Baltimore area (Go, Ravens!) but I moved to Richmond 11 years ago with my husband, Michael (who’s from Oldham, England) and our two grown daughters, Jessica and Charlotte. Our family has since expanded to include one son-in-law and three grandchildren.
- Michael saved my life in 2006 by donating half of his liver to me when I needed a transplant. Unfortunately, due to complications I was unable to keep his gift and was immediately put back on the waiting list. I was blessed with the Gift of Life from a deceased donor on September 2, 2006. I now know that his name was also Michael. I am also a donor sister to Rocky, who died in 2001. My family was very blessed to have the opportunity to donate Rocky’s organs and tissues and leave that legacy for him.
- For three years, I’ve been a volunteer at The Virginia Voice, where I read newspaper and magazine articles on the radio for people who are blind or physically impaired and can’t turn pages for themselves. I’ve recently joined the Board of Directors and look forward to serving in even more ways.
Q: Three things you want folks to know about your work.
- After my experiences with donation and transplantation, I decided that I couldn’t go back to being a bookkeeper. I started volunteering for LifeNet Health and just kept showing up every day until they put me on the payroll. I’ve now held this position for seven years.
- As the OPO for most of Virginia, LifeNet Health is responsible for all of the organ donation cases within our service area. We are also one of the country’s leading non-profit tissue-banks.
- Every day 18 people die waiting for a transplant that didn’t come in time and every ten minutes another patient is added to the waiting list. One donor can save the lives of up to nine people with solid organs, enhance the lives of more than 50 others through tissue, and bring sight to two people with the gifts of corneas. Anyone can add their own name to the Virginia Donor Registry at www.donatelifevirginia.org.
Q: Why do you love the profession of volunteer administration?
I love my role as volunteer administrator because every day I am privileged to meet the strongest, most amazing people you can imagine. Most of our volunteers are donor family members who are willing to go into public and share their painful stories of loss, and transplant recipients who each share their story of their fight to live. I find inspiration in every person I meet.
Q: What are most looking forward to with GRAVA?
I look forward to learning how others handle the many challenges of managing volunteers. While I love them all, they can be, as you well know, challenging at times.