The Impact of Tissue Donation on the Lives of Others

Steve Adubato goes on-location to the New Jersey Sharing Network's 30th Anniversary to speak with Martha Anderson, Executive VP of Donor Services at MTF Biologics, about the importance of their partnership with the Sharing Network and the impact tissue donation has on people's lives.

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"We're at the New Jersey Sharing Network 30th Anniversary. It's their gala. It's a special event here at the Liberty Science Center. We're pleased to welcome Martha Anderson, Executive Vice President, Donor Services at MTF Biologics, which is? It's the largest tissue bank in the country. And we're one of the partners with the New Jersey Sharing Network helping to sponsor this event. Let's talk about tissue recovery and... because we often talk about the organ donation part of it. But let's talk about the tissue aspect of it. Sure. So tissue means anything that's not an organ. For us it means musculoskeletal tissue, which is bone, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and skin, and we use those for a variety of different kinds of reconstruction and really really important surgeries. What impact does it have on people's lives? This is the gift of life? It's absolutely the gift of life. We can use the donated skin for burn patients. We can use it to help a woman have her breasts reconstructed after cancer surgery. It can be used in a child who has an orthopedic bone cancer that makes the difference between an amputation and a fully active life. It's a huge difference. You know, people often think they understand, quote unquote, "the corporate world" - and you are in the corporate world, but beyond the bottom-line aspect of being in the corporate world, this is a human, humane piece of it. What has it done for you personally to be a part of this? Well, it's been huge for me. And actually I've been doing this work for the last thirty years, so I'm as old as the New Jersey Sharing Network in this field. And MTF Biologics is a nonprofit organization. And so we can be driven by doing the right thing all the time. We don't have to worry about the bottom line. But you're a non-profit? We are, yes, yes. Explain that to folks. I mean they'll say, "Well how does that work? It's not a charity?" Well actually, it was run just like a charity, or if you want to think about it, it's run like a blood bank. People can donate their blood to a blood bank, and there are costs associated with that. So when you get a blood transfusion at the hospital, it goes on your bill. It's the same thing with donated tissue. So for us, we have to cover our costs, as the Sharing Network does, and then we can do all sorts of good things. But we don't have to worry about shareholders and stakeholders and things like that. We in public television..."