Spinal Elements®, Announces Over $600,000 in Donations to Make-A-Wish® and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®

Carlsbad, Calif – November 19, 2014 – Spinal Elements, an innovative California spine technology company, officially celebrated the two-year anniversary of its Hero Allograft launch at this year’s North American Spine Society (NASS) convention in San Francisco. The company hosted a celebration where it announced that an estimated $600,000 for children’s charities will have been raised from its Hero Allograft sales by the end of 2014. This doubles the amount raised by Spinal Elements last year. The donations will be split nationally between Make-A-Wish and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Two check presentations of $300,000 each were made to local Make-A-Wish and St. Jude representatives, and were given in honor of Dr. Mike Leahy from Houston, TX, one of the first surgeons in the U.S. to participate in Spinal Elements “Pledge to Be a Hero” program, as well as Dr. Mirza Baig, also from Houston, and Dr. Douglas Musser from Boardman, OH, who also use Hero Allograft. These doctors have all taken Spinal Elements’ “Pledge” to use only allograft tissue from companies that do not profit from the transfer of that tissue whenever clinically feasible, and propel the program’s success, making these donations possible.

Jason Blain, president of Spinal Elements, hosted the event, along with Dr. Leahy, Patricia Wilson, Executive Director of the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area Chapter and Angela Northrup, Associate Director – Pacific Coast Region with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

San Francisco Wish Kid Shoshone, 17, of Pleasanton, California, gave a moving speech about how much her wish meant to her. Her wish, to go to Atlantis with her family and swim with the dolphins, was sponsored by Spinal Elements. Shoshone was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia when she was 14, and she announced at the ceremony that she is now cancer free.

 Former St. Jude patient Miguel Betances Lee, 22, who now works in Memphis for ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude also spoke. Miguel was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer, osteosarcoma, in 2010. He went through treatment at St. Jude, and because of donations like these from Spinal Elements, is now able to live a full life.

Spinal Elements launched its national “Pledge to Be a Hero” program in 2012, which offers surgeons and hospitals across the country the opportunity to pledge to use only allograft tissue from companies that do not profit from the transfer of that tissue whenever clinically feasible.  Allograft is human tissue that is obtained by way of an authorized gift of a donor and/or their family, and can then be turned into scores of medical products. Every year, 1.5 million of these products are given to American patients. (Tissue donation fact sheet available upon request.)

Spinal Elements chose to name its first allograft tissue product “Hero®” to honor those whose donation made the tissue donation possible.  Although many companies earn significant profits from the sale of allograft, Spinal Elements has chosen to donate all profits from the sale of its Hero Allograft to charities benefiting children with life-threatening medical conditions, such as Make-A-Wish and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Hero was launched in 2012 at the North American Spine Society (NASS) convention in Dallas.

“Spinal Elements sees allograft as much more than a product or a commodity,” said Jason Blain, president and co-founder of Spinal Elements. “Allograft is the physical embodiment of a human life and deserves that level of respect. We are honored to be stewards of this precious gift.”

Dr. Leahy said, “Spinal Elements is the first spine company to donate 100 percent of the net proceeds from the sale of its new Hero tissue product to children’s charities. I share their vision of allograft tissue as the physical embodiment of human life deserving this level of respect. I am honored to be the first surgeon in Texas to be utilizing Hero and I hope my colleagues will join me.”

 Hero consists of various configurations of human allograft tissue including demineralized bone matrix (DBM) in paste or putty form, compressible cancellous blocks and strips, and structural grafts. These types of grafts are typically used in fusion procedures. For more information, please visit www.spinalelements.com/hero.

 The NASS meeting was held Wednesday, November, 12- Saturday, November 15, 2014 in San Francisco, CA at the Moscone Center South.

PHOTO CAPTION: L to R: Miguel Betances Lee, 23,  former St. Jude patient; Jason Blain, President, Spinal Elements; Angela Northrup, Associate Director, Pacific Coast Region, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Patricia Wilson, Executive Director Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area Chapter; Todd Andres, CEO Spinal Elements, and Make-A-Wish Kid Shoshone, 17.

About Spinal Elements

Spinal Elements, headquartered in Carlsbad, CA, is a spine technology company for spine surgeons who demand innovative, extremely high quality surgical solutions. From the company’s early work which helped make PEEK commonplace throughout the spine industry to recent advancements in Ti-BondÒ bioactive interbody implants, controlled delivery, and stand-alone technology, Spinal Elements has built a reputation for being trustworthy, innovative and different. The company is focused on the development and marketing of progressive spinal treatment options and markets a complete portfolio of advanced spinal implant technologies. The company most recently launched its line of Lucent Ti-Bond™ products that feature a coating of plasma-sprayed titanium on PEEK interbody devices.  Additionally the company distributes Hero® Allograft, the net proceeds from which are donated to charities benefitting children with life-threatening medical conditions. For more information, please visit www.spinalelements.com.



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Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President and CEO of Ortho Spine Partners and sits on several company and industry related Boards. He also is the Creator and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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