Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) Honors Organ Donors with Annual A Special Place Memorial Ceremony

Pittsburgh, May 19, 2013 – Today, the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), a federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) serving Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and parts of New York, honored the families of all organ, tissue and cornea donors who have saved or improved the lives of transplant recipients in 2012 during its annual memorial ceremony, A Special Place. Relatives and friends of those organ donors gathered for the event at CORE’s Pittsburgh headquarters in RIDC Park.

“A Special Place is CORE’s way of giving our donor families the opportunity to say one final goodbye to their loved one and to pay tribute to their final gift as an organ, tissue and cornea donor. It is also to recognize the hope that their loved ones provide to others as a donor. In honor of our donor families, a special dedication song titled ‘I Am Hope’ was performed,’” said Susan Stuart, president and CEO of CORE. “A Special Place is always a moving ceremony, and it demonstrates that people can truly change lives when they make A Pledge for Life by becoming an organ, tissue and cornea donor.”

Those in attendance heard moving stories from people such as Bob and Mary Ellen Dickson of Allison Park. Their son, Scott, was a basketball coach at LaRoche College who passed away unexpectedly in 2011. As a tissue donor, Scott was able to enhance the lives of others. Bob is also a living kidney donor. Ron Gooden, heart recipient of Hampton, talked about receiving a new heart and second chance at life in 2011. He has since returned to coaching football at Hampton High School, was able to attend his son’s graduation and his daughter’s wedding. Danielle McKain of Cecil shared the inspirational story of her two-year-old son Jameson, who received a heart transplant in 2011 after being born with a congenital heart defect.

The ceremony also included a dove and balloon release, along with a re-dedication of the Special Place wall, a granite wall surrounding a park-like setting at the organization’s headquarters that is specifically earmarked to commemorate donors.

Nationally, more than 117,000 people are awaiting an organ transplant. At least 18 will die each day without receiving one, including two from CORE’s service area. For every person who donates their organs, tissues and corneas, up to 50 lives can be saved or dramatically improved.

For more information about CORE, visit or call 1-800-DONORS-7.

EDITORS/REPORTERS: For high resolution photos of the ceremony, please contact Elizabeth Bacheson ( or 412-642-7700.)

About CORE
The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is one of 58 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the United States. CORE works closely with donor families and designated health care professionals to coordinate the surgical recovery of organs, tissues and corneas for transplantation. CORE also facilitates the computerized matching of donated organs and placement of corneas. With headquarters in Pittsburgh and an office in Charleston, West Virginia, CORE oversees a region that encompasses 155 hospitals and almost six million people throughout western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Chemung County, NY. For more information, visit or call 1-800-DONORS-7.

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