Kim and Dave Burdakin, former residents of Muscatine, Iowa, sponsored the creation of Blu. Kim received a liver transplant in 2000 at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.
Blu was created in 2017 by Kim's brother, Jim Hetzler with Hetz Studio, as part of a public art installation and fundraising campaign called K-9s for Cops. The art campaign memorializes Chicago's fallen officers while supporting the families of officers killed or seriously injured in the line of duty.
Jim created Blu in Kim's honor as a tribute to organ and tissue donation. The Burdakin family donated Blu to the UIHC Transplant Center in gratitude for the specialized care that Kim received and to help continue their efforts to raise awareness of the importance of organ and tissue donation.
We are very thankful that the Burdakin family is in support of The Dragonfly Transplant Fund and we love seeing Blu on display at the UIHC Transplant Center!
A legacy is a powerful approach to make a lasting difference. It is a way of creating the future you will not see but believe can be.
"Ultimately, how we live our life defines our legacy. For Deb, she was a great cook and baker who loved to entertain guests. She loved all animals. She was an avid reader (especially cookbooks and magazines). She spent so much time in her gardens. She had many good friends and she had a way of making the people she was with the center of attention.
As I write this today, April 12th, 2021, it is our 41st wedding anniversary. We spent many beautiful years together that were filled with all kinds of memories of family, traveling, and just simply enjoying our home. She left us physically last year on May 10th, Mother’s Day. She left so many good things behind for us. Now that I have had a year to stand back and reflect, one quality of Deb’s stands out to me. Her courage and tenacity was a quality that speaks best for her. Fifteen years ago, Deb took on breast cancer and, from there, she moved forward. Four years ago, she struggled through the process of a successful liver transplant, and she moved forward again. She was a fighter! Through all of the challenges that she faced, she showed courage through each challenge - time and time again.
Together, we hoped The Dragonfly Transplant Fund that we established would help transplant patients, families, and caregivers. It is our way of saying thank you to organ donors - past, present, and future - and also a way to thank the whole medical staff that guided us through the transplant process. This fund is our legacy, what we wanted to give back for all that we received, and how we both want to be remembered. Most importantly, it is a way of creating the future...Deb’s legacy, my legacy, and our legacy together."
- Ed Brown, Co-Founder of The Dragonfly Transplant Fund
"I continue to be moved and inspired by the generosity that Ed and Deb have shown and inspired in others. During her lifetime, Deb was the symbol of what it meant to be resilient and to conquer the challenges life and health threw at her -in particular related to her organ transplant - as they were many. She felt strongly about helping others in her same situation be more resilient and the Dragonfly fund is what was born from that belief. Deb felt so strongly that this cause continue beyond her own days and made it part of her own legacy through her estate.
Now, in her honor, Ed and all who give to the Dragonfly fund continue to champion the resiliency of transplant patients and families by supporting the work of our Health Care Heroes at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics through the Dragonfly Fund for Transplant Support."
Assistant Vice President, Health Sciences Development
The University of Iowa Center for Advancement
How to Make a Donation in Honor of Deb Brown
To make a donation to the Dragonfly Transplant Fund through the University of Iowa Center for Advancement in honor of Deb Brown, please click the link below.
Last week, we received a donation with a very special letter included. Thank you to Logan for thinking of us with the Dragonfly Transplant Fund. Your donation means so much to us and the lives of those we hope to improve over the years ahead.
"As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others." - Audrey Hepburn
Special Messages from the Dragonfly Transplant Fund
"Deb and Ed started the Dragonfly Transplant Fund (DTF) to honor the gift they had been given and to offer back to those in the greater transplant community where they saw a glaring need – a vision of a place for caregivers to find a nurturing environment while their love ones were recovering from transplantation. Deb enjoyed several years of good health and spirit following her transplant and she and Ed were able to live life to its fullest following her recovery. Deb is no longer with us, and while we share deeply with Ed and his family in their loss, we also share in their commitment to Deb’s unwavering legacy and see the DTF through to its completed mission. Together, they were a force of nature. The UI Organ Transplant Center and the Center for Advancement are eager to help Ed and his close circle of support in this effort."
- Dr. Alan Reed, Director of the UI Transplant Center & Alli Ingman, Assistant Vice President - Health Services Department of the University of Iowa Center for Advancement
It’s been almost two years since the Dragonfly Transplant Fund was founded. We have said "thank you" multiple times to many of you over the last two years, but as the year comes to a close, we want to say it again: THANK YOU!
We are just the spokespeople for the mission of the Dragonfly Transplant Fund. All the organ donors, the recipients, and the great medical staff at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics are the reason we work towards the goals of the fund. At the end of the day, the organ donors, the recipients, and the UIHC medical staff are the ones who will make the Dragonfly Transplant Fund's mission and vision to become a reality. They are the true heroes.
As we have become more involved with the transplant cause over the years, we have met groups of people and organizations that have the same heart as we have. The thing we remember is: yes, we can do more and we can make a bigger impact! And we can do even more together.
In 2020, we will continue to grow the Dragonfly Transplant Fund and inch closer to our goal of a caregivers' suite and providing a tool for education and assistance to transplant patients and their families. Our website is constantly changing and we will be active on social media by year-end – keep checking us out. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your past, present, and future support of the Dragonfly Transplant Fund. Happy Holidays!
Deb & Ed Brown
Many of these calls were calls for emergency hospital visits or for trips to the University of Iowa Transplant Center. Then came the multiple calls when they hastily go to the Transplant Center when Deb was one of those called in as a possible recipient of an organ. We, as well as the Browns, anxiously awaited word that perhaps this would be the last trip involving an actual transplant. Finally, the ultimate gift occurred and Star was able to get the rest of her family back home full-time!" - Jim & Carol Cutler
Two days after surgery I visited Deb in the hospital and she had completely transformed. she was alert and smiling with the color back in her face.
I am very proud of the way my uncle and aunt Ed and Deb are using their new beginning in life to give back to others. Whether it is the dedicated room or transplant awareness the Dragonfly Fund is a charity I will continue to support and be involved with the future." - Jack Blong
Volunteers with the Dragonfly Transplant Fund established by Ed and Deb Brown are dedicated to supporting the UIHC Organ Transplant Center through giving. We share their stories, fundraising efforts, and memories here with followers, friends, and family who support the Dragonfly Transplant Fund.