DeSales Students Host Organ Donor Registration Drive

by Janelle Hill | Apr 26, 2017


Donate_for_Life_at_DeSalesVolunteers for the organ donation drive on campus included (from left to right) Abby Olsen, Dr. Susan McGorry, professor of business, Ryan Jordan, Isaaca Lee, Paulina Halat, and volunteer Tom Stalsitz

Marketing and MBA students at DeSales are helping to save lives by encouraging organ donation. Students have teamed up with the Gift of Life organization to host an Organ Donor Registration Drive on campus. The drive started on Monday and runs until Thursday, April 27 from 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. in the University Center.

“The beauty of this project is the fact that we were able to develop projects at both the MBA and undergraduate levels,” says Dr. Susan McGorry, professor of business and department chair. “We have students in both working collaboratively.” 

MBA students conducted research and came up with a plan for promoting the event, while marketing students implemented the plan on campus. Seventy-five students in all were involved. “We’re always looking for projects that align well with our mission of Christian Humanism,” says McGorry.

If you’re unsure about donation, think about this. Every day, 22 people in the United States die while waiting for organ transplants. Just one person can save eight lives. They’re statistics that Antonia Spano ’18 knows all too well.

On Monday, April 24, Spano shared her story of organ donation with fellow students. When she was born, her aorta and pulmonary artery were connected. She also had holes in her heart and valve problems. “My heart was a mess; it just had to go.”

Her parents received the worst news imaginable – their daughter would likely die. Spano was taken to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. Then, at just four days old, she got her miracle. Doctors found a donor – a three-month-old baby girl from New Jersey.

Spano underwent an eight-hour transplant and has had a long road to recovery. A few days after getting her new heart, her body began rejecting it. She also suffered a stroke. She went through multiple therapies, but today she’s alive and well, sharing her story with others.

Spano has met the doctors who performed the transplant, but she’s never met her donor’s family. “Part of me wants to, part of me is a little shy,” she says. “Maybe one day.”

Tom Stalsitz’s story is just as inspiring. He came to campus on Tuesday, April 25 to show just how easy it can be to donate. This September will mark 10 years since he donated a kidney to his son’s friend. “His parents and brother were not compatible. But I was in enough of the markers that it worked,” he says.

Doctors removed Stalsitz’s kidney laparoscopically, which meant no big incision. He was sidelined for three weeks but has never experienced any negative effects. “I take no medicine, have no restrictions, and usually forget that I've done it,” he says.

McGorry is hoping to get between 25 and 30 students to register as donors. She’s also planning to make the registration drive an annual event. To register, stop by the University Center through Thursday, April 27 or visit As Spano puts it, “You help people. Why wouldn't you want to do that?”

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