Thirteen hundred Mississippians are awaiting a life-saving organ transplant, and over 120,000 are awaiting organ donations nationwide. This Tuesday was the first day of Donate Life Month and two organizations in Jackson County are kicking it off with balloons. Ocean Springs Hospital released symbolic balloons Tuesday to kick off Donate Life Month. Heath Thompson, Administrator of Ocean Springs Hospital, says, “Our community should be aware and should have the option to improve and save lives of others through organ and tissue donation.” Singing River Health System partners with the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (M.O.R.A.) to promote donor awareness, and for the Cartwright family, the cause is bittersweet.
Anna Jacobs, M.O.R.A. Family Service Coordinator, says, “While it is easy to understand how donation can benefit those in need of transplant, it is also about the kind and generous spirits that agree to give the gift of life.” Last May, the Cartwrights lost their 4 year old son, Pierce, after a drowning accident and his parents allowed his tissue to be donated. Jennifer Cartwright, Pierce’s mother Jennifer Cartwright, Pierce’s mother, says, “The impact for us was complete and utter devastation because we lost our son, but at the same time, we had hope for someone else.” The Singing River Health System has helped save over 150 people with organ and tissue donations, and thanks people like the Cartwright family for helping to make it all possible.
Matthew Cartwright, Pierce’s father, says, "It was just a great way to get the message out and get Pierce’s legacy of helping out there, so we wanted to take this opportunity to help promote M.O.R.A. any way we can." Over the last decade, Singing River Health System and M.O.R.A. have produced 54 organ donors and 73 tissue donors to enhance the lives of others. Jennifer also says, "To us, helping M.O.R.A. and doing events like this is what helps us cope. It’s what helps us keep going." One organ and tissue donor can save the lives of up to eight people and enhance the lives of more than 50 others.