State Rep. Stephen “Steve” Pugh, of Ponchatoula, was unprepared for his diagnosis of Stage 4 renal failure in January 2011.
“I had no idea I went through renal failure one, two and three,” said Pugh, who immediately began dialysis.
Not long after the diagnosis, Pugh’s wife, Elizabeth, and their two sons, Stephen, 26, and Christopher, 24, tested to be kidney donors.
Christopher’s match was the one that most qualified, and in July 2011, the surgeries for father and son were performed at the Ochsner Medical Center in Jefferson.
“We’re both, by the grace of God, doing well,” Steve Pugh said.
Pugh is the honorary chair of a premier event that will be held here this week to support organ donation education and awareness.
“Soul Revival Baton Rouge” is a first-time event for the Metairie-based nonprofit organization Legacy Donor Foundation and will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Governor’s Mansion.
With annual fundraisers held for more than 10 years in New Orleans, the organization, which works to raise awareness about organ, eye and tissue donation across the state, decided to bring a new annual event to the River City, said Nicole Labadot, the development director for Legacy Donor Foundation.
“We want this event to grow. This is really a great step for us,” Labadot said of the upcoming event.
“We’re trying to reduce the loss of life due to a lack of organ donors,” she said.
Currently, more than 114,000 men, women and children in the U.S. need organ transplants, with an average of 18 people dying each day from lack of available organs for transplant, according to the organization Donate Life America.
Every 10 minutes, another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list.
“In 2011, there were 8,127 deceased organ donors and 6,017 living organ donors, resulting in 28,535 organ transplants,” according to the organization, at its website, http://donate.life.net.
Rep. Steve Pugh said son Christopher, a student in Xavier University’s College of Pharmacy, will also be at the event on Thursday. Both of the men volunteer with Ochsner to speak with families who are considering organ donation or transplants, about their experiences, Steve Pugh said.
Legacy Donor Foundation was created in 1999 by David Voelker, after he saw what a difference an organ transplant made for one of his family members, Labadot said.
Through educational programs, literature and videos, Legacy Donor Foundation has helped to “grow the Louisiana Organ, Eye and Tissue Registry from 450,000 to 2 million ...,” according to the foundation’s website, http://soulrevivalonline.com.
The foundation works closely with the Office of Motor Vehicles, through which 96 percent of registered donors come, according to the website.
Cooking legend chef KD, who has a Louisiana-inspired restaurant in Gonzales and cooking shows on several local channels, will be providing “culinary delights” at “Soul Revival Baton Rouge.”
Music will be provided by the local Better Than Nobody band.
Tickets are $125 per person and may be purchased through 5 p.m. Thursday. For more information or to order tickets, visit http://soulrevivalonline.com.
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