The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Talk and screening promote life donations

The growing need for more organ donors was the main theme of the first Organ Donor Awareness Week, held March 5-9, as part of an initiative by the Office of Community Relations and the New York Organ Donor Network.

One of the events during the week was an information session hosted by Dr. Jane Paley’s Public Relations Writing class. Speakers from the donor network came to talk to students about the need for more registered donors. The students were also treated to a screening of the movie John Q.

Paley said she wanted the students to work on a project that would raise awareness to a certain cause. When she brought up the idea of organ donations, she said the class was resistant to it at first. The idea of organ donations is a tough sell, Paley said, and a topic that most people don’t enjoy talking about.

“It’s not like we’re doing a toy drive or something like that,” she said. “We’re asking students to share parts of their body and entertain the idea of mortality.”

The student’s minds were changed, she said, after Angela Palmieri, strategic marketing manager for The Donor Network, came to the class and discussed the need for organ donations. Palmieri came to the class and discussed many of the misunderstandings she says surround organ donations. Palmieri also stressed the large disparity between those who need organ transplants and the amount of registered organ donors.

Paley said that after Palmieri’s presentation, the students were more enthusiastic to work on the project.

Junior Dylan Sevean, a student in Paley’s class and a registered organ donor, said he believes that many people don’t know the facts of organ donations. “I think that a lot of people are either misinformed or ill-informed about it,” he said. “I want to do anything I can to help spread the word. I find no need to be against this.”

Paley said the student’s task in the project was to get the word out about the event as best as possible. The students did this by advertising through different mediums around the school. “They reached out to St. John’s Central and to the radio station,” Paley said. “They also made the official flyer for the event and spread it around campus.”

Palmieri began the event by going over many of the topics she covered in Paley’s class. She discussed the health, financial and religious controversies that are associated with becoming a donor. She also brought up the fact that in the last 10 years the number of people waiting for a transplant has significantly grown, while the number of donors has stayed relatively the same.

Following Palmieri’s speech Victor Sanchez and Anthony Kilburn, both recipients of kidney transplants, told their stories of how organ donations affected their lives. Sanchez told the story of how he was a DJ playing shows around the world until he was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure and had couldn’t travel anymore because he needed dialysis.

Sanchez said that when people like him receive an organ transplant, it gives them the opportunity to get their old lives back again and to do even more with it. “We can do the things we did before we got sick and go above and beyond that,” he said.

The event concluded with the showing of the movie John Q, which tells the story of a father whose son is diagnosed with an enlarged heart. Due to insurance complexities, the family can’t afford to pay in order for the son to get on the list for a new heart. The father barricades the hospital emergency room and demands his son is given a new heart.

Sevean said the class chose John Q because of the emotional aspect of the story. “Really we wanted any movie that would be able to move people,” he said. “The purpose of it is for people to try and re-think their position on the whole issue,” he said.

Palmieri praised the efforts of the class in getting the word out and making the event a success. “There was good attendance here,” she said. “I thought the PR campaign went really well.”

Palmieri said that she hopes to come back to the University every semester and plans to have more student events on campus.

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Anthony O'Reilly
Anthony O'Reilly, News Editor
Anthony has been one of the most, if not the most, loyal person at this paper. His passion and his dedication to reporting and production is unparalleled. In the last few weeks, he has demonstrated the qualities of a leader and a coach that are required for this position. I have nothing but confidence that Anthony will do a great job. He will serve you, the reader, by providing the most honest, objective news possible. —Terence Cullen News Editor, Emeritus
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