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Honoring National Donate Life Month and Blue and Green Day with Flag Raising Ceremony

Transplant recipients and an altruistic donor share their stories at HCA Florida Largo Hospital

A special handshake

Largo kidney recipient and former police officer Jeff Cooper (left) and altruistic kidney donor police officer and SWAT medic Guy Kitchens (right) seal their bond with a special handshake.
Largo kidney recipient and former police officer Jeff Cooper (left) and altruistic kidney donor police officer and SWAT medic Guy Kitchens (right) seal their bond with a special handshake.

The first meeting of donor and recipient - just hours after surgery

They met for the first time hours after surgery a few months again and will see each other again at a special ceremony being held on April 22 at HCA Florida Largo Hospital as donor police officer and SWAT medic Guy Kitchens (right) drives across the state to share an update on what it means to give the Gift of Life.
They met for the first time hours after surgery a few months again and will see each other again at a special ceremony being held on April 22 at HCA Florida Largo Hospital as donor police officer and SWAT medic Guy Kitchens (right) drives across the state to share an update on what it means to give the Gift of Life.

Tampa, Florida, April 19, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- WHO: Meet an altruistic kidney donor and recipient who are reuniting for the first time since transplant surgery earlier this year, enjoy a special invocation from a heart transplant recipient and listen to a heart transplant musician accompany the donor flag raising ceremony.

WHAT: April is Donate Life Month and April 22 marks the special Blue and Green Day, to help spread the importance of registering to be an organ donor.

  • HCA Florida Largo Hospital CEO Adam Rudd and HCA Florida West Florida Division President Ravi Chari, MD, open the event with inspiring words of appreciation for The Gift of Life.

  • Altruistic kidney donor Guy Kitchens and recipient Jeff Cooper will share their transplant journey after surgery - their first meeting since the day after surgery. Read the beginning of their story here: https://www.hcafloridahealthcare.com/locations/largo-hospital/about-us/newsroom/retired-first-responder-patient-meets-his-match

  • Public Affairs Lifelink Foundation Manager Ashley Moore will tell us how anyone can be a donor and unveil the 2022 Donate Life month campaign chalk art by a local artist.

  • Heart transplant recipient Albert Juarez discusses his excitement to ‘not just exist, but to make a difference’ with a special prayer as he discusses his new direction as a chaplain for Peace River Search and Rescue with his wife and trained-dog and more.

  • Music enthusiast and heart transplant recipient Anthony Gonzalez will play a special song as we raise the donate life flag in honor of organ donors to close the ceremony.

Transplant surgeons and all participants available for interview following ceremony.

WHEN: Friday, April 22, 10:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

WHERE: HCA Florida Largo Hospital | 201 14th St SW, Largo, FL 33770; main entrance flag pole

CONTACT: Tiffany Briggs, Director of Communications and Community Engagement, (941) 713-4509 – cell

A few parking spaces will be reserved for your convenience. Free valet parking is also available.

Attachments

CONTACT: Debra McKell HCA West Florida Division 813-402-9414 Debra.mckell@hcahealthcare.com