Santa Clara Valley Healthcare Celebrates Día de los Muertos with Traditional Ofrendas Honoring Organ Donors
Ofrendas Positioned Through Nov. 3 at SCVH Hospitals aim to honor past donors, and raise awareness of the need for more Latine organ donors
Santa Clara County, Calif. – Santa Clara Valley Healthcare (SCVH) has assembled vibrant Día de los Muertos ofrendas at all three hospitals as part of the annual tradition providing families and loved ones the opportunity to pay respects and celebrate the lives of those who have passed away. The ofrendas at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, O’Connor Hospital and St. Louise Regional Hospital have an educational element and feature photos honoring organ donors who provided the most precious gift of all, the gift of life to another. The ofrendas will be positioned on each campus through November 3.
“One donor can completely change the stories of so many families and individuals in our community and beyond, creating a legacy through the lives of others,” said Paul E. Lorenz, Chief Executive Officer for Santa Clara Valley Healthcare. “We hope these ofrendas can remind everyone of the life-changing decisions that can help another generation thrive.”
Officials hope the colorful and engaging ofrendas, which are adorned with images of local donors who have passed away, will honor their legacies while raising awareness about the need for more registered organ donors generally, and specifically within the Latine community. Studies have shown there is an unfortunate and significant gap between the number of Latines in need of organs, and the number of Latine donors.
“Choosing to become an organ donor is a simple process and a movement we hope many more members of our Latine community will join,” said Dr. Judith Sanchez, Physician for Santa Clara Valley Healthcare. “We want to dispel any misinformation the community may have about organ donation.”
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, more than 100,000 people are currently awaiting a match for an organ transplant. Yet, to date in 2023, there have been just over 17,000 donor matches, resulting in almost 35,000 transplants.
“The purpose of our ofrenda display is to celebrate life, to raise awareness, and to dispel myths about organ donation,” said Sharon Castellano, DNP, a SCVMC nurse and founder of Brandon’s Crossroads Foundation, a non-profit she founded after the untimely passing of her teenage son whose donation impacted 50 different individuals in need of tissue and organ transplants. “Día de los Muertos, is a special celebration for me personally because it is an opportunity to honor my son, and to share the truth about organ donation. We ask everyone to help close the gap in this healthcare crisis that affects so many individuals of color. Through continued education, we can provide the gift of life and improved quality of life to so many deserving families, friends, and colleagues.”
One donor alone can provide up to eight donated organs. For more information on organ donations, the public can visit www.donornetworkwest.org.
About Santa Clara Valley Healthcare
Santa Clara Valley Healthcare (SCVH), California's second-largest County-owned health and hospital system, is comprised of three acute care hospitals, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, O’Connor Hospital, and St. Louise Regional Hospital, along with a network of primary and specialty clinics. SCVH emphasizes quality care, research, teaching, innovation, and most importantly, a focus on coordinated, compassionate and patient-centered care for every patient. Our mission is to provide high-quality, accessible healthcare and excellent service to everyone in Santa Clara County, regardless of their social-economic status or ability to pay.
Media Contact: County of Santa Clara Health System Media Relations, (408) 568-3122,