Hope in Hand

On Tuesday, April 1 at JPS Health Network, health care professionals, news media and LifeGift staff gathered for a special event, “Hope In Hand,” to remember Ian Heidemann, organ, eye, tissue and hand donor. 

Attendees had the opportunity to learn about hand donation and transplantation from Dr. Tae Chong, director of the reconstructive transplant program at UT Southwestern. They also heard from Ian's parents, Rob and Janis Heidemann, as well as Ronald Thurman, the recipient of Ian’s right hand. Rob and Janis shared a little bit about Ian and his decision to register as an organ donor, and Ronald and his wife, Cathy, talked about what life is like now with a new hand. 

Ronald, Rob and Janis raised the Donate Life flag together at JPS, symbolizing the beginning of National Donate Life Month. 

Ian’s heart recipient, Reginald King, and his lung recipient, Paul Boudwin (father to Robert Boudwin - the man behind Houston Rockets mascot, Clutch), were also in attendance.

“Hope in Hand” received thorough media coverage from TV, radio, online and print outlets in Fort Worth. The story also was picked up in Houston. Fort Worth Mayor, Betsy Price, spoke at the event. 

Congratulations to the North office, especially Tasha Horton and Susan Nelson, for orchestrating such a superb event! 

LifeGift staff with Ian Heidemann’s recipients at JPS Health Network.

Raising the Donate Life flag at JPS was a moving experience for all involved. In this photo: Ronald Thurman (middle left) with the Heidemanns.

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