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Donate Life Month: Led to Lead – A family transplant journey

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Mary Albers had no idea the importance organ transplants would one day play in her life when she started her career in nursing. Now the vice president of the AdventHealth Transplant Institute and Our Legacy, the federally-designated organ procurement organization for 10 counties in east Central Florida, Albers’ journey began as a registered nurse, helping cancer patients in Georgia.

Then something happened that changed everything. Her son, Dylan, who was 15 at the time, needed a heart transplant.

“In May of 2021, my son received the gift of life through a heart transplant right in the middle of COVID,” Albers said.

Three years later, Dylan, now 18, is healthy and thriving. “He’s doing great! [He] got his first apartment and his driver license. [He] has his own truck and is attending Full Sail University,” Albers added.

Mary and Dylan Albers at the 2024 AdventHealth transplant reunion picnic

Albers’ career in Colorado included senior leadership roles with Centura Health, which was in a partnership with AdventHealth at the time. “I got to see [the AdventHealth] culture and I knew I loved the people here,” Albers said.

That experience and Dylan’s transplant journey factored heavily in Albers’ decision to pursue a leadership role at AdventHealth. “I was fast to reach out, especially being the mom of a patient [who needed] a heart transplant,” Albers said.

After starting her new role in October 2023, Albers recently attended the AdventHealth transplant reunion picnic for the first time. Afterward, she reflected on the duality of leading a major transplant program while being the mother of a teenaged organ recipient.

“I’m still learning how to interweave our personal life into work, which really is what drove this passion here. I’d say it’s very healing.”

Click here or on the picture at the top of the page to hear more from Mary Albers.

Nearly 104,000 people are waiting for a lifesaving transplant in the U.S., according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. Of those, almost 600 are being cared for by teams at the AdventHealth Transplant Institute, Orlando’s only solid-organ transplant program.

Florida residents can sign up to be an organ donor at

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