Liaison of the year hails from Belmont

Seventeen institutions and individuals, including Teresa Rinkes of Belmont Community Hospital, were honored for their roles in saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation at the recent Evening with the Stars hosted by Lifeline of Ohio. Presenting the award to Rinkes is Kent Holloway, CEO of Lifeline of Ohio. Rinkes, nurse manager at BCH, was chosen as the liaison of the year for her dedication and innovation in promoting organ, eye and tissue donation. BCH is a division of Wheeling Hospital. — Contributed

BELLAIRE — Teresa Rinkes of Belmont Community Hospital has been named liaison of the year by Lifeline of Ohio for her dedication in promoting organ, eye and tissue donation.

Rinkes, nurse manager at BCH, was one of 17 people and institutions honored for their roles in saving lives through donation at the recent Evening with the Stars hosted by Lifeline of Ohio. BCH is a division of Wheeling Hospital.

“I am honored to have had a small part in the transplantation of a record 33,600 organs in the United States in 2016, an increase of 8.5 percent over 2015,” Rinkes said. “With more than 119,000 people nationwide still waiting for a donated organ, it is important that we continue our efforts to raise donor awareness and help save even more lives in the future.”

BCH Vice President John DeBlasis said, “Having Teresa recognized as the liaison of the year by Lifeline of Ohio comes as no surprise to those who work most closely with her on a day-to-day basis. It does give the public a small glimpse of her personal dedication and that of BCH to a most worthwhile project. Kudos to her and her team for such an honor.”

The Evening with the Stars event, held in Columbus, featured testimonials from individuals whose lives have been impacted by donation, including a donor mom, liver recipient and heart recipient.

Lifeline of Ohio is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes and coordinates the donation of human organs and tissue for transplantation. It serves 72 hospitals in 37 counties in Ohio and two in West Virginia, and is designated as an organ procurement organization through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In September, BCH was among a select group of hospitals nationwide recognized for promoting enrollment in state organ donor registries in a national campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration.

HRSA honored BCH with the platinum award, the highest possible recognition.

The hospitals and transplant centers that were recognized reached platinum, gold, silver or bronze levels of achievement by conducting activities promoting enrollment in state organ donor registries. Nationwide, the campaign has added 400,000 donor enrollments to state registries nationwide since 2011.

BCH conducted awareness and registry campaigns to educate staff, patients, visitors and community members about the critical need for organ, eye and tissue donors and, by doing so, increased the number of potential donors on the state’s donor registry.

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