Awards & Events

Orthopedic Surgeon Makes Wishes Come True

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Auprelee Currie, a 19-year-old from Youngstown, was able to receive her wish to travel to Australia last month thanks to Youngstown Orthopaedic Associates spine surgeon Douglas Musser and spine technology company Spinal Elements.

Musser teams up with Spinal Elements through its national “Pledge to Be a Hero” program.

A hero-themed celebration for Currie, who is battling sickle cell anemia, was held Thursday night at the offices of Youngstown Orthopaedic Associates.

Currie and her family shared pictures and stories of their Australian vacation and she was presented with her own hero medal at the celebration.

Musser and Spinal Elements also presented a $15,000 check to the Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana chapters.

Musser is primarily responsible for generating donations from Spinal Elements of up to $23,000 to date to the local Make-A-Wish chapter.

Spinal Elements is a designer, developer, manufacturer, and marketer of medical devices used in spinal surgical procedures.

The California-based company aunched its national “Pledge to Be a Hero” program in 2012, offering surgeons and hospitals the opportunity to pledge to use only allograft tissue from companies that philanthropically apply the profits from the transfer of that tissue.

Allograft tissue is bone graft material commonly used in spinal fusion surgery that comes from deceased donors via a tissue bank. Spinal Elements has chosen to honor tissue donation as a gift of life by donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of its allograft, called Hero Allograft, to charities benefiting children with life-threatening medical conditions.

“We named our allograft program “Hero” to honor the donors of allograft, and because we see these kids as the true heroes,” said Jason Blain, president and CEO of Spinal Elements. “As more surgeons become a part of our Pledge to Be a Hero program, more children like Auprelee will be able to get the treatments they deserve and have their wishes come true.”

To date, Spinal Elements has donated more than $1.3 million through the program.

“I feel that simply by choosing to use Hero Allograft in my spinal operations and procedures, I double the impact. I get to heal patients using superior medicine and also support children suffering from some of the worst medical conditions,” Musser said.

Pictured: Amy Kocian, Make-A-Wish development officer; Dr. Douglas Musser; Betheda and Auprelee Currie; and Marc Yap, group product manager of Spinal Elements.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.