Students see live surgery, spread awareness about organ and tissue donation
By Brit Milazzo
Public relations, BASD
Students participating in this year’s OTDA program at Bellefonte Area High School have been working throughout the year to help bring awareness about organ and tissue donation. On March 14, 21 students and three chaperones visited the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts and attended a live presentation of a laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery that took place at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
English teacher Jennifer Walter said attendees learned about the medical staff involved, surgical process and tools used to perform the surgery. During the surgery, Bellefonte Area students were also encouraged to ask questions to the head surgeon who answered in real time as the surgery took place.
“It was extremely interesting and informative for everyone,” Walter said.
After the surgery, students spent a time at the museum before heading to the Gift of Life Family House in Philadelphia, where the staff at each facility gave tours and explained what they do and how they help individuals and families with a variety of needs before, during and after transplant surgery.
Before the trip, a drive was held to collect paper goods, which were then donated to the home during their visit. This was made possible by an Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness grant. This is the second time the school received the $5,000 grant.