April 21, 2017





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University Hospital Hosts Unveiling in Memory of Organ Donor Zoe Jackson

Hospital unveils the floragraph for public viewing for the first time in New Jersey


Each year, the floragraphs (floral memorial portraits) adorning the Donate Life Rose Parade Float honor deceased organ, eye and tissue donors nationwide. Through these memorial portraits -- most of which are decorated by the honorees' family members – a tribute is offered to them, their families and donors everywhere.


At the 2017 Rose Bowl Parade held in Pasadena, California, a floragraph of 13-month old Zoe Jackson, who died in 2011 at University Hospital adorned the Donate Life Float along with other organ donors who, in their death, saved, healed and gave hope to thousands of people in need. Last December, on behalf of the entire University Hospital community, President and CEO John N. Kastanis presented Patti Jackson (Zoe’s mother) with a rose that was also placed on the float during the parade.


After Zoe’s passing, the Jackson family chose to donate her heart, liver, and kidneys to children in need.  Thanks to that donation three children have been able to live healthy lives.  Patti Jackson continues to devote a significant amount of time to increase organ and tissue donation awareness in Newark and throughout the State.


University Hospital’s President and CEO John N. Kastanis, MBA, FACHE said “All of us at University Hospital are inspired by your tireless advocacy for organ donation, an advocacy that was born of tremendous sacrifice that grew into a mission.  As health-care leaders, we share in that mission and we thank you for your dedication.”


“I am eternally grateful to the Jackson family for the huge sacrifice of donating Zoe’s organs so that others could live” said Babuaro Koneru, MD, Chief of Service for Liver Transplantation at University Hospital and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.


Now that the floragraph has completed two cross-country trips, the Jackson family gathered at University Hospital today to view the floragraph for the first time.  “I am so appreciative to the entire University Hospital family for the kindness that has been shown to my family and I time and time again since Zoe’s passing. I remain committed to continuing to spread the word about the importance of organ donation near and far,” Jackson said.


“While the number of registered organ and tissue donors that save lives has increased in New Jersey in 2016, it is only through effective partnerships with University Hospital that will enable the NJ Sharing Network to continue to increase the number of enlisted donors and saving countless lives in 2017”said Joseph S. Roth, president and CEO, NJ Sharing Network, the non-profit agency responsible for recovering organs and tissue in Central and North Jersey.


The floragraph, which is now framed, will be on display at University Hospital.



From left to right: Joseph Roth, President and CEO, NJ Sharing Network; John N. Kastanis, MBA, FACHE, President and CEO, University Hospital; Patti Jackson, mother of Zoe Jackson; Baburao Koneru, MD, Chief of Service, Liver Transplantation, University Hospital; and Oscar Colon,  RN, Clinical Donation Specialist, NJ Sharing Network.



University Hospital is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. Located at University Heights in Newark, New Jersey, University Hospital is a principal teaching hospital of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and a regional resource for advanced services across many medical specialties.  For more information about University Hospital, please visit www.uhnj.org.


NJ Sharing Network saves lives through organ and tissue donation. Located in New Providence, the organization recovers organs and tissue and belongs to a national network that helps the 120,000 people waiting for a transplant.  In 2016, more lives were saved than ever before. Thanks to the selflessness of New Jersey organ donors and their families who said yes to donation, 613 people are alive today. This year, the organization is celebrating 30 years of saving lives. To learn more, please visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.



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