Donor Shortage Drives Florida Recipient Program; South Brevard Funeral Home Enhances the Lives of 10,000 Recipients

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In Brevard County a shortage of some types of tissues continues to drive a partnership program between South Brevard Funeral Home and Southeast Tissue Alliance (SETA). Despite a shortage, these two organizations have enhanced the lives of 10,000 Fla. recipients from severe burn victims to cancer patients.

In Brevard County a shortage of some types of tissues continues to drive a partnership program between South Brevard Funeral Home and Southeast Tissue Alliance (SETA). Despite a shortage, these two organizations have enhanced the lives of 10,000 Fla. recipients from severe burn victims to cancer patients.

Michael Scott, vice president of operations of SETA, said more than 490 families have had their donation wishes realized thanks to the support of South Brevard Funeral Home. "This translates into as many as 10,000 patients who benefited from tissue transplants. The number of people helped through research for Alzheimer's, cancer and other diseases, is immeasurable," said Scott.

Michael Ammen, president of Ammen Family Funeral, an umbrella company that owns South Brevard Funeral Home, said the partnership was a win-win-win situation. "It's a win for the families who wish to see good come from the loss of their loved one; for SETA because it allows them to offer an option of donation that they might otherwise not have; and for South Brevard because it is consistent with our commitment to the local community and helping families."

For Mattie Owens, a Jacksonville, Fla., resident, tissue donation meant regaining her independence. Owens suffered from a degenerative disc disease that led to pain in her back, shoulders and neck. She experienced numbness and tingling in her right arm. These were the beginning signs that she would eventually lose use of her arm and it made everyday activities like fixing her hair and using a computer mouse difficult.

In 1995, Owens received her first disc transplant using allograft tissue. The procedure was a success, but years later she was diagnosed with another herniated disc. In April of 2001, Owens received her second disc transplant, and the pain went away immediately. "The tissue transplant changed my life and the life of my son," said Owens. "I never knew that bone or tissue could improve the quality of someone's life so much."

South Brevard Funeral Home facilitates SETA's program by offering them an opportunity to learn about their donation options. More than 100 funeral homes in Fla. work with SETA to ensure that the wishes of families are carried out. Many funeral homes throughout the country are participating in donation programs with tissue banks resulting in more than three percent of donors being identified in funeral homes. Donation is a nation is a national medical priority. By law, hospitals are required to work with donation banks; however, more than 50 percent of deaths occur outside of a hospital and families may not be offered a donation opportunity.

SETA is among the top tissue recovery programs in the nation and is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks. SETA makes certain the gift of tissue is maximized and helps to guarantee that the tissue is cared for following recovery.

Southeast Tissue Alliance (SETA) is a non-profit foundation, accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks, licensed by the State of Florida and registered with the Food and Drug Administration. The organization has offices in various regions in North and Central Fla. The organization is committed to providing safe allograft tissue that will ultimately be used to enhance life through transplantation, research and medical education. For more information, visit http://www.donorcare.org or call 1-866-432-1164.

South Brevard Funeral Home is a division of Ammen Family Funeral and has been serving Brevard County for 40 years. Ammen Family funeral is dedicated to caring for the deceased with respect and dignity and the living with compassion and understanding- and to accomplish this goal with the highest professional ethics. For more information, visit http://www.affuneral.com or call 1-800-329-2232.

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Valerie Jennings

Valerie Jennings
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