CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — In honor of Giving Tuesday, Donate Life West Virginia is asking people to spread the word about organ donation.
Donate Life West Virginia is comprised of four federally designated organ procurement organizations (OPO) that are dedicated to promoting and coordinating the donation of organs and tissue for transplantation. Those four OPO’s include: Center for Organ Recovery Education or CORE, Lifeline of Ohio Organ Procurement Agency, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates and LifeNet Health.
“Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to channel the generous spirit of the holiday season by registering as an organ donor,” said CORE President & CEO Susan Stuart. “It is something so simple, but it is life-changing for so many.”
Statistics show that more than 113,000 U.S. residents, over 500 of which are West Virginians, are waiting for a life-saving organ donation transplant. People like Beth Slack. The mom of 2 is currently awaiting a double lung transplant.
“I know it scares a lot of people. But a person’s life can live on through another, your organs can live on through another and give someone a better quality of life to somebody that maybe never have gotten to experience it,” explained Slack.
“You might have been able to go rock climbing but I can’t even chase my kids, so why not give me that chance if you can’t take them with you.”
Registered nurse Susan Hannah is a pre-transplant coordinator at CAMC Hospital. She says for many patients and families, waiting is the hardest part.
“It can be super emotional. The constant waiting takes a toll on patients and their families. But we have to remind them that their time will come, is coming. We have to keep them thinking positively.”
Donate Life West Virginia volunteers and advocates took to social media on Tuesday to share their stories and encourage others to do so as well. But the initiative spreads past Giving Tuesday.
“It really is a year-long thing for us. There are not enough people to supply the demand of people awaiting the life-saving transplant, “said CORE COO, Kurt Shutterly.
Shutterly added, “In the United States alone, 22 people die every day awaiting a transplant. And really if there were more people who would put the designation on their license, we would be able to decrease that number.”
If you’d like to become an organ donor, you can register at the DMV or online.