About N.O.T.E.


Tom Thrasher, the first successful heart transplant recipient in the state of Florida, started the National Organization for Transplant Enlightenment in 1986. He personally funded the association because he saw the need for such an organization.


In 1986, transplantation was not as refined as it is today. Medications had more severe side effects due to the fact that managing the proper dosage was still a bit unknown. Insurance companies did not pay for transplants or for the life sustaining medications.

Tom Thrasher saw the need for an organization that would establish a communication network by way of a newsletter. Support groups for transplant recipients, caregivers and those awaiting solid organ transplants was started. Tom wanted to open up as many avenues as possible to share information relating to problems common to transplant recipients including social, pharmaceutical and insurance coverage.

Tom wanted N.O.T.E. to be a 501 (c3) tax-exempt organization to receive contributions and manage the amounts at no charge to the patients. He wanted to use transplant volunteers to spread the word about the need for organ donation, to eliminate misinformation about organ placement and to show that there is quality of life after organ transplants. Tom was a man who went above and beyond by stepping up and taking action. He lobbied on behalf of insurance reform for organ transplantation. Tom demonstrated that life went on after having a transplant by performing many dare devil stunts. These stunts got the attention of the media along with the general population. Tom truly brought awareness to all areas of transplantation.

N.O.T.E. has continued to operate after Tom's death under the guidance of Emily Ortiz, the first successful female heart transplant in the state of Florida. Emily was the first patient N.O.T.E. assisted. Working as a unit clerk at Tampa General Hospital, Emily became ill with congestive cardiomyopathy in 1982. She received her new heart on March 19, 1986. Emily became the seventh heart transplant at Tampa General Hospital. Until her passing, in 2002, Emily volunteered for N.O.T.E. campaigning for organ donation and mentoring patients. Emily showed other heart recipients that life could be normal after a transplant. Known as the "Angel of the Transplant Floor," Emily is the reason N.O.T.E. still exists today. Since 2002, N.O.T.E. has been led by Les Valitutti, president, and Bob Gamble, vice president. N.O.T.E.'s board of directors is made up entirely of unpaid volunteers who give unselfishly of their time to further the cause of organ and tissue donation.

The N.O.T.E. Worthy News, quarterly newsletter, goes out to over 1,500 interested persons and is supported solely by donations. The newsletter contains information regarding insurance, medications, news in the transplant field and social events. If you would like to sign up to receive the newsletter, send an email using our contact page. In the subject line, put "Newsletter" and then give us your name and mailing address in the body of the email.

Since its inception N.O.T.E. has helped over 5,000 individuals in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. Donations to individual accounts or to general funds are gratefully accepted. Please refer to our contact page for more information.

N.O.T.E. Policy Regarding Drugs for Transplant Patients

N.O.T.E. is a charitable organization, formed in part to aid those in the local transplant community through information, education, consolation and in some instances, medication. On a case-by-case basis, the N.O.T.E. Board of Directors will consider the financial circumstances of those patients most in need, and in some instances may assist in providing pharmaceutical prescription payment assistance. N.O.T.E. neither distributes nor redistributes the actual medications themselves, but merely assists in the payment for such necessities.


To promote the need for organ and tissue donation through public awareness and education. To provide information on social, emotional and financial support opportunities to transplant recipients, caregivers and those awaiting transplantation.


* To provide information on financial, social and emotional support opportunities to recipients of organ transplants and their families.

* To promote public awareness of the need for donor organs.

* To solicit and receive grants and contributions and manage the amounts received for the purposes set forth

* To provide financial aid to needy recipients of human organ transplants, including the purchase of medicines
and medical aides to help sustain lives after receiving organ transplants.

* To establish a communication network among organ transplant recipients for purposes of sharing
information relating to problems common to transplant recipients.

* Increase the National Organization for Transplant Enlightenment's visibility and image in our community by
hosting awareness and fundraising events.


* Over110,000 Americans, more than 4000 live in Florida, are awaiting life-saving transplants.
* One organ and tissue donor can potentially benefit 50 or more people.
* 6,000 of those people will die this year while waiting