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Scottsdale Healthcare hospitals raising awareness for organ donations

An event to raise awareness for organ donations was held at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Thursday, April 3. (KTAR photo/Bob McClay)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Doctors and patients at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center are urging Valley resident to "donate life."

They met at the hospital Thursday to raise awareness of how important it is for people to sign up to be organ donors.

One of them was Mark Larson. His life was saved 18 years ago when he received the kidney of a man who died of a brain aneurysm. He now has a friendship with the deceased man's mother.

"She calls me 'mijo' (my son), because she feels like her son is living," said Larson. "There's a kidney for me, a heart for somebody else, another kidney for somebody else, and a liver for somebody else. She knows that she saved the lives of at least five people [by making sure that her son's organs were donated]."

Gene Brady lost his 26-year-old daughter Elizabeth to a brain aneurysm in 1987. Because his daughter was an organ donor, Brady knows that her death has given life to others.

"We know that because of the decision to donate life, two men are raising families because of her kidneys," said Brady.

April is National Donate Life Month. More than 120,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a life-saving transplant, including 2,500 people in Arizona. Sixteen people who are waiting for a transplant die in the country every day. Arizona had its most successful transplant year in 2013, with 180 donors saving the lives of 492 people.

Scottsdale Healthcare is hosting two donor registration events this month.

One is on April 9 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center, located at 9003 E. Shea Blvd.

The second event is on April 14 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak, which is located at 7400 E. Thompson Peak Pkwy.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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