Each month, LifeCenter Northwest selects a LifeSaver Award winner. This award honors and recognizes those who demonstrate a commitment to improving donation outcomes and culture through their actions, time and energy.

We are pleased to present this month’s LifeSaver Award to Bonnie Bentz, RN of MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, Wash.

During a recent donation case at Mary Bridge, the parents of a pediatric patient were supportive of donation, but expressed concern about their child remaining on a ventilator for a long period of time. As a result, LifeCenter Northwest activated a rapid-response Donation After Circulatory Death (DCD) process.

At this time, Bonnie immediately sprang into action and worked non-stop on preparation for organ donation for six hours. Bonnie efficiently handled blood draws, COVID testing, serologic tests and other items that were needed urgently in order for donation to proceed. All this occurred during an extremely busy time at the hospital when staff were managing multiple critically ill patients at once.

“The entire staff at Mary Bridge was amazing and pulled together to make donation possible in this case, but Bonnie was truly instrumental,” said Rachel Shry, LifeCenter Northwest Hospital Development Program Manager. “Without her help, we might not have been able to save lives.”

“I have known Bonnie for over 20 years and this award is not a surprise at all,” added Jodi Gragg, a colleague of Bonnie’s at Mary Bridge. “She is committed to the kids and the families in our community and represents the best of Mary Bridge Children’s. She is kind, caring and treats every family as if they were her own—we are so lucky to have her on our team.”

When the end of Bonnie’s shift approached and the patient’s liver function tests weren’t coming back as quickly as needed, she stayed late to call the lab and obtain timely results. Ultimately, we were able to transplant both kidneys and the liver from this donor, saving three lives. Without Bonnie’s help, LifeCenter likely wouldn’t have been able to find a match for the donor’s liver within the accelerated donation timeframe. Thanks to Bonnie, one more life was saved. In addition, this donor gave the gift of heart valves and blood vessels, which can be used to heal and improve many more lives.

“I have such respect for this family and the amazing gift that they gave which provided a means of hope no matter what,” said Bonnie. “I saw in this family an extension of their love for their own child reaching out in hope for the future of others. It is an honor for all of us to be present with a family as they go through the difficult business of dying. I know we are walking on sacred ground to be with them in this process.”

Under challenging circumstances, the dedication and proactivity that Bonnie displayed is what makes the gift of life possible. We are proud to honor Bonnie with this month’s LifeSaver Award for honoring this family’s donation decision and helping to save lives through organ and tissue donation.