My name is Mig Martinez and I am a Tissue Navigator for the Gift from a Child Program (GFAC) at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Florida. My love for research began when I was hired as a Research Lab Assistant on over 35 phase II-IV clinical trials for Neurological Disorders in pediatric, adolescents, adults and geriatric. After seeing how clinical research provides hope and improves lives, I decided to learn more and be part of that field, forever. The opportunity to further my career in research came up 6 years ago when I was hired at Orlando Health / Arnold Palmer as a Clinical Research Data Manager/Biorepository Coordinator for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program.
Recently, I transitioned to the APH Neuro ONC Therapeutic Lab, to work on our Translational Research Protocol dedicated to Brain Tumor tissue collection, processing and storage. We collaborate with other institutions and have shared cell lines that we have grown in our own lab, from tissue donations collected during surgery and also from autopsies. Every day, my love for cancer research grows more and more; what started as a job it has become a mission. I feel fortunate that I get to talk to the parents of our cancer patients and educate them about our program and the importance of tissue donation in the fight against childhood cancer, especially brain cancer. I am an advocate to find a cure; it is my mission to create awareness about how we can help. The Gift from a Child program, offers great resources for families to donate their loved one’s tissue and bring hope to future generations; by doing that they create a legacy and preserve a memory and I am honored to be part of the team.
A Simple Two-Step Process
For the family, once a decision has been made to donate, only two things are required. The first is written consent for the child to become a tissue donor, and the second is a single phone call to a tissue navigator at the time of a child’s death to initiate the process.