Albany to host organ transplant conference

ALBANY, Ga. — Those in the region faced with the possibility of a solid organ transplant — and those who have already received them — are being invited to attend the Georgia Transplant Foundation (GTF) “Trends in Transplant” conference at the Phoebe Putney Learning Center on North Jefferson Street from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday.

The conference provides organ transplant candidates, recipients, living donors and their families with educational information and support as they experience transplantation.

“Many of the hospitals, and the majority of information, is in Atlanta and Augusta. There are not a lot of resources for those outside of those two areas,” said Deb Vickery, patient services assistant for GTF. “It is part of our mission to educate communities that might not have access to this information.

“You never know who a transplant will impact, so the more you know, the better.”

This year’s conference will consist of several seminars, including: “What’s New in Transplantation and How to Protect Your Organs,” led by Dr. Carlos Zayas from Piedmont Transplant Institute, “New Medicines to Prevent Transplant Rejection: The Future is Here!,” a previously recorded presentation by Dr. Alan Kirk from Emory Transplant Center and “How to Live Healthy Through Exercise and Diet Plus Reap the Benefits as Part of Team Georgia,” led by Joe Stott, a Team Georgia representative.

“We are bringing in physicians that are making a three-hour drive to be in Albany,” Vickery said. “Even those in Atlanta want to help.”

GTF staff will also be on hand to provide information on programs and financial services offered by the foundation.

The Georgia Transplant Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides financial, educational and emotional support to organ transplant candidates, recipients and living donors throughout the state.

“There are currently more than 200 transplant recipients and 180 candidates residing in the Albany-area,” said Pat Rotchford, executive director of the GTF, in a statement. “GTF is committed to making sure that our services are available to all transplant candidates and recipients throughout the state, bringing the latest information about transplantation to the transplant community of Albany.”

Last year, there were 60 people that attended the Albany conference. Typically, there are roughly 40 — which is around the number officials are expecting this year.

Statewide, there are more than 3,045 people waiting for an organ transplant, while more than 11,081 Georgians are living successfully with a transplant.

The conference is free for all transplant candidates, recipients, living donors and one guest. A complimentary lunch will be catered by Jo’s Southern Cooking.

Interested parties can register in advance by calling (678) 514-1178 or toll-free 1(866) 428-9411. People can also show up the day of the conference, Vickery said. For more information about the conference or GTF, please visit www.gatransplant.org.