by McAllen Medical Center, A South Texas Health System Facility | Mar 28, 2014

South Texas’s only kidney transplant center – The South Texas Transplant Center at McAllen Medical Center – along with the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA), the UT Health Science Center San Antonio tissue center, and the City of McAllen will commemorate April as National Donate Life Month and increase awareness about organ donation at 10 a.m. Monday, March 31 with a unique flag raising event and remembrance motorcycle tribute ride.

City leaders and organization representatives will join at McAllen City Hall at 10 a.m. for a few remarks and to raise the first flag. From there, the Calaveras Motorcycle Club will start a commemorative convoy from City Hall to McAllen Medical Center to honor their friend and Organ Donor Emilio “Jimmy” Santiago Coronado.


Coronado, an avid rider and member of the Calaveras club, died June 25, 2013, as the result of a collision with a vehicle. He was also the first registered organ donor in the South Texas region, according to TOSA. In his death, Mr. Coronado was able to save two lives as a kidney donor. One of them was a direct donation, given to a local resident who is a family friend. He also improved the quality of life of at least 70 other people through tissue donation … so far. Tissue has a shelf life of up to five years, so his tissue will continue to be used in medical procedures. Coronado’s wife, Roberta “Bobby” Reyes-Coronado, will be the Donor Ambassador speaker, at approximately 11 a.m. at McAllen Medical Center.


“We’re all registered organ donors,” Reyes-Coronado said. “My brother has been the recipient of a cornea transplant, and we all give blood regularly. We just see it has helping others. You can’t take it with you. I never imagined we’d be in this position, but I’m proud to use our tragedy to help others learn the importance of organ donation.”


There is a critical shortage of organs, tissues and eyes available for donation. As of today, there are 121,680 patients in the United States awaiting transplantation; including more than 11,000 Texans. More than 360 local patients are currently listed for kidney transplant by the South Texas Transplant Center. Each day, 18 people on average die while waiting for an organ.


The McAllen Medical Center operates the only transplant center in the Rio Grande Valley and has performed 117 kidney transplants since opening its doors in 2007. The South Texas Transplant Center had a record month in February 2014, performing 7 kidney transplants in one month.


“A contributing factor to the increase in recent transplant volumes has been the receipt of organs from local, registered donors. We have been fortunate enough to keep viable kidneys here in the Valley which has resulted in decreased organ transport times, and therefore improved outcomes,” said Rebecca Weisberg-Shook, RN, and South Texas Transplant Center Supervisor. “The increased awareness of living organ donations has also contributed to the uptick we’ve seen at our center. This is great news for the community, and we hope that the trend will continue.”


Monday’s event will feature multiple donor families, live donors, organ recipients, those on the waiting list for an organ, and members of the South Texas Transplant Center’s clinical, surgical and administrative team.

South Texas Transplant Center

Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA)

UT Health Science Center

2014 Donate Life-Done Vida Event

Monday, March 31, 2014


10:00 AM                    McAllen City Hall Ceremony and Flag Raising with the following:

(City Hall Front Lawn)             City of McAllen Officials

                                                  McAllen Medical Center Administration

Texas Organ Sharing Alliance

University Health Science Center San Antonio-Allograft

10:40 AM                    Motorcade from City Hall to MMC with Donate Life Flag

(See attached route)

11:00 AM                    Begin Ceremony at MMC with the following:

(Main Entrance)                       Welcome: Mr. Elmo Lopez, JR-CEO, McAllen Medical Center

Introduction of Transplant Nephrologist and Surgeon:      Mr. Jeremy Bradshaw, COO-McAllen Medical Center


Dr. Mourad Alsabbagh – Medical Director/Transplant Nephrologist

Dr. Rick McLean – Surgical Director/Transplant Surgeon

Bobby Reyes-Coronado – Donor Ambassador

Jimmy Smith – Kidney Recipient

Jose Torres – Kidney Recipient and Wife, Patricia Torres- Kidney Donor

11:40 AM                    Flag Raising and Closing

12:00 PM                    Refreshments

(MMC Cafeteria)