National Donate Life Month: Turning Tragedy into Advocacy

Today, the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency was at Gulfport Memorial Hospital to promote the importance of organ and tissue donation and to register some donors.

In the United States there are over 114,000 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. An average of 22 people die each day because they did not get the transplant they were waiting for. Sonny Soileau with MORA said, “One healthy organ donor can save up to eight lives. One tissue donor can enhance up to 100 lives and to help people in their lives and extend their lives.”

But donation is not all about the recipient; it also helps the donor’s family cope with their loss. Ellen DuVernay lost her 26-year-old daughter, Brittany, after a golf cart accident eight years ago. “Brittany was an organ donor and I did not know it and we found out when MORA came to us when she was pronounced brain dead and she helped five people to be able to continue.”

Now Ellen spends a lot of her time advocating for organ and tissue donation, something she says has changed her life in unexpected ways. “We’ve only met the lady from Dallas, Texas who received Brittany’s lungs. We have become the best of friends. We talk quite often and we fly back and forth. She flies here, I fly there.”

Memorial Hospital only has around six to eight people receive donations per year, but if more people signed up to donate those numbers might increase. “Probably one percent of people who die actually could become donors because of those conditions. So, it is very important that those who could become donors actually become donors.”

If you would like to register to donate you can go online to Donate Life’s website or go to your local DMV.

Categories: Featured, Health, Local News, News

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