Celebration of Life 2007
The HOPE Transplant Support Organization hosted the 12th annual “Celebration of Life” on December 1, 2007. This is the largest annual gathering of transplant recipients in the state of Oklahoma. The event was held at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City with more than 300 guests in attendance. Grateful recipients, along with family and friends, transplant candidates and families, and donor families enjoyed visiting, taking pictures, and eating the delicious array of food and desserts.
The traditional Christmas trees decorated with recipient ornaments, some of which date back to the mid-1990’s, were a popular spot for taking pictures. Four beautiful quilts, composed of quilt squares with recipient names and a personalized design, were also displayed. The first quilt was started in 1995 and the additional quilts were added as new recipients completed their squares. This was the first time that all four quilts were on display at “Celebration of Life.”
The program, held in the John L. Henry Auditorium, included guest speaker Marilyn Yeakley, a donor mom, who shared her family’s story of their little daughter's journey and of her eventually becoming an organ donor. Larry Behrens, a liver recipient, shared his story about the miracle of transplantation. Dr. Nicholas Jabbour, Chief Medical Director of Nazih Zudhi Transplant Institute, spoke on behalf of NZTI. Rookie recipients, those who received their transplants within the last two years, were recognized and given a long-stem red rose. A longevity certificate and rose were presented to those in attendance who were the longest-living recipients for each type of organ transplant.
Following the program, the traditional group picture was taken of the transplant recipients attending this year’s event, along with Dr. Jabbour, Dr. Anthony Sebastian, transplant surgeon and Gary Sigle, Administrative Director of NZTI
Dr. Anthony Sebastian is chief of the abdominal transplant surgery division. He is a transplant surgeon who runs the clinical division of liver and pancreas transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery at the Nazih Zuhdi Transplant Institute, INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, Oklahoma City. He also is a clinical associate professor of surgery at the University Of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Tulsa.
He completed his formal American Society of Transplant Surgeons accredited multi-organ transplant fellowship in liver, kidney and pancreas transplant surgery from the world-renowned Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
He joined INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in 1995, establishing and directing the first and only successful pancreas transplant program for the treatment of type I diabetes mellitus in Oklahoma.
Dr. Sebastian was the member of the surgical team that performed the FIRST in-situ split liver transplant in the United States in 1996 where one donor liver was split and given to two patients with liver failure. He has subsequently performed many such complicated procedures in adults and children. He was intricately involved in living donor liver transplants during the early 1990s while at Mount Sinai Medical Center and subsequently was part of the team that successfully performed live liver donor surgery from adult to child liver transplants at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in 1995 -1997.
He has vast surgical experience in all aspects of hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery, performing complicated bile duct surgery, major liver resections for liver cancer and the management of pancreatic cancer.
He is responsible for the training of general surgery residents in hepatobiliary and transplant surgery from the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa during their posting to the abdominal transplant division.
He is the current president of Lifeshare of Oklahoma, and is the UNOS Region IV representative for the Liver committee and the Nominating committee. He is on the medical advisory board to pharmaceutical companies involved in immunesuppression and is on the national speakers bureau involved in educating transplant programs around the country in the art of immune suppression following transplantation.
Dr. Sebastian’s special interest is in the field of immunesuppression. He is a leader in the field of global immune monitoring that is increasingly used in transplant patient care. He is involved in clinical research and has published, lectured and presented papers at national and international meetings. He is a fellow of the International College of Surgeons, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom