NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ — A Piscataway health care executive moved by the compassion of NJ Sharing Network during a family tragedy has been named to the organization's governing board.
Bonnie A. Evans, CEO of Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, West Orange, said during the time her 54-year-old brother died from an injury, her large family was shocked and distraught. She said the transplant coordinator from NJ Sharing Network provided kindness and support that helped the family through the traumatic days.
“I felt this woman from NJ Sharing Network just took all of our burdens, confusion and grief and helped us carry them and deal with the most difficult time in our lives,” Evans recalled. “Every challenge we threw at her was responded to with kindness and peace. We would not have made it through that night without that support.”
Evans' brother, Carlton Simpson, died in 2009 after an accidental fall while painting his father's house. She said the experience prompted her to learn more about NJ Sharing Network and organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Evans recalled the transplant coordinator, Margaret Moore, as well as others at NJ Sharing Network provided support for the family not only during the immediate crisis but long after her brother's death.
The Piscataway resident said the family did not know that her brother was a registered organ donor until his serious injury and death. She said NJ Sharing Network explained the process in a compassionate way and today the family experiences solace knowing her brother's generosity helped others, including giving the gift of sight to another person.
Evans has extensive training and experience in the field of physical therapy. She obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in physical therapy at Northeastern University, Boston Bouve College, in Boston, and a Master's Degree in health administration from Seton Hall University in South Orange. Since joining Kessler Institute in 1973, she has worked in various positions, most recently as CEO of the West Orange Campus.
“Bonnie's personal experience gives her a unique perspective of the mission of NJ Sharing Network,” said Joe Roth, president and CEO of NJ Sharing Network. “Her experience as a leader in health care combined with her passionate support for our work makes Bonnie a valuable addition to our board of trustees.”
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), more than 115,000 people nationwide are currently on the organ transplant wait list, including nearly 5,000 New Jersey residents. UNOS also estimates that one new name is added to the transplant wait list every 10 minutes.
Since its inception in 1987, NJ Sharing Network has more than quadrupled the number of organs recovered for transplantation. NJ Sharing Network also recovers tissue for life-enhancing transplants. However, there is still a massive shortage of registered organ donors here in New Jersey. Less than one-third of licensed drivers in New Jersey are registered donors; ranking the Garden State 44th out of the 50 states in the percentage of registered organ and tissue donors.
To learn more about organ and tissue donation or to get involved with NJ Sharing Network call 1-800-742-7365 or visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org to register as an organ and tissue donor.