San Antonio nurse to be memorialized in Rose Bowl Parade
Contact: Catherine Duncan, 210-567-2570
During the Rose Bowl Parade on Jan. 1, one float — Donate Life — will have a close San Antonio connection. The float, sponsored by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB), will memorialize the life of San Antonio nurse Jorge A. Fernandez.
On Nov. 13, 2011, Fernandez collapsed near the finish line at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio 1/2 Marathon. The 32-year-old nurse died later that day. His life of service continues to be celebrated by those who have received a second chance at life through the gift of tissue donation.
Those who have benefited from his gifts include a 33-year-old male from Spokane, Wash.; a 30-year-old male from Chesterfield, Mo.; a 19-year-old male from Chicago, Ill.; a 92-year-old male and a 61-year-old male. The tissues transplanted have enhanced the mobility of others or saved lives.
In early December, the UT Health Science Center San Antonio’s Allograft Resources™ hosted the official unveiling of his floragraph memorial portrait. At the event, held on the Health Science Center campus, his family added the finishing touches to the floragraph, which is a floral memorial portrait. The floragraph will travel to Pasadena, Calif., where it will be placed on the 2014 Donate Life Rose Parade float.
Allograft Resources supports local and national tissue donation as well as recovery and distribution needs. The organization also offers bereavement services, such as support groups and memorial events, to donor families and the general public.
Life of service
Originally from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, Fernandez settled and remained in San Antonio. He joined the U.S. Air Force and served two tours in Iraq. He became the first person in his family to graduate from college when he earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Tech University.
Fernandez worked as a registered nurse in the Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital, one of the Health Science Center’s clinical partners. Fernandez was a strong advocate of education, exercise and healthy living. His family says he lived his life to serve others.
His mother, Maria Gloria Fernandez, said her son inspired her to work less and enjoy life. “He taught me that things happen for a reason, and, at the end of the day, everything would turn out fine. He is a treasure in my life,” she said. “His goal was to help anyone in his path whether he knew them or not.”
Michelle Ramirez, bereavement coordinator for Allograft Resources, said it is a huge honor for Fernandez to be chosen by the AATB, an organization which regulates all tissue banks.
“We hope his story will be an inspiration for others to make the decision to register as organ, tissue and cornea donors. Registering as a donor is a decision made now that saves and enhances the lives of others at the end of your life,” Ramirez said.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 29,000 graduates. The $765.2 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.
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