Tuesday April 2; 10am- 10:30am
Classroom A&B (main hospital)

10:00am: Speaking event:

  • Kristi Caldera; Director of Critical Care
  • Emily Bowcutt: personal experience with organ donation;
  • Donor Connect representative

10:20am: Flag-raising ceremony

In 2023, twenty-seven EIRMC patients and their families chose to donate life. To honor them, EIRMC is hosting an Organ Donation Awareness Month event and flag-raising ceremony.

“Organ donation is not just about saving lives; it's about restoring hope and giving individuals a second chance at life. By choosing to become an organ donor, individuals can make a profound impact and potentially save multiple lives,” says Kristi Caldera, Director of Critical Care Services at EIRMC and advisory board member for Donor Connect.

For Emily Bowcutt, the topic of organ donation hits home. Her family has experienced both sides of organ donation, from receiving a life-changing transplant to giving the ultimate gift after personal tragedy.

Emily’s brother Cody was involved in a bad hunting accident in 1998. A shotgun blast cost Cody his shoulder and upper arm bone (humerus), but a successful transplant of a donated humerus gave him full mobility of his arm that he retains to this day.

But her family’s story doesn’t end there. Years later, a construction accident left Emily’s other brother Jeremy brain dead at just 34 years old. He was working in Hawaii at the time of his accident, when his wife and children in Rexburg were notified that Jeremy was on life support and would not recover. “At first, Kristine, deep in her grief, was opposed to the idea. But that changed when she found out that a neighbor who had helped her several times while Jeremy was working out of state was desperately in need of a liver. He was not expected to survive the week.”

Amazingly, it was a perfect match for donation. But the neighbor was too sick to make the flight to Hawaii for the procedure. So, the organ was recovered in Hawaii. In miraculous fashion, red tape was quickly cut, and Jeremy’s liver was flown stateside, just in time to save another life.

"Whether we donated Jeremy’s organs or not, our outcome would have been the same. Jeremy was still dead. His kids still didn’t have their dad. We were still grieving. But through donation, Jeremy’s death gained meaning. We gave life back to someone else. Even though Jeremy didn’t get to see his kids grow up, our neighbor did,” Emily shared.

Her words are a reminder of the life-saving impact each donor can have. Making the decision to become an organ donor can easily be done through platforms like yesidaho.org or on your driver’s license when at the DMV.

Caldera agrees, emphasizing the importance of communicating wishes regarding organ donation to loved ones. “When you sign up to be an organ donor, you are agreeing that when your death is imminent and unavoidable, you want your remaining useful organs and/or tissues to be donated to others who can live. This decision can be likened to making a will where you say what happens to your property upon your death. It is important to let your loved ones know your wishes related to organ donation as well. In the event that you become an organ donor, it will bring them peace to know that this is what you wanted.”