By Diane Perkins
Good Shepherd Medical Center, GSMC recently honored new additions to their Wall of Heroes. The Wall of Heroes is where the hospital honors organ donors.
Brenda Jackson’s grandson, LaCorien Owens, made the Wall of Heroes. Owens was only 19 years-old when he died from injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident in 2010. Ms. Jackson teary eyed expressed her feelings, “It hurts so bad, I miss him every day”
Owens’ mother Machello said her son has been a donor since he was 14 years old. He took a parenting course at the high school where they discussed the importance of being an organ donor. This influenced him to become a donor. Machello is proud of her son’s decision. “It is a blessing knowing he lives on”.
Another donor was Darron Thomas whose eldest daughter Yazman decided to donate his organs when he succumbed in 2010. She saw how important organ donation is when her friend needed a kidney hence she made the decision to donate her father’s to GSMC. His mother Carolyn Thomas attended the dedication.
Furthermore, Nancy Osman came from as far as Tennesse to the Wall of Heroes dedication. Her son Ty Osman 18, was heading back to Harding University and died in an automobile accident. He was the 2nd person to be a registered donor at Good Shepherd Medical Center. According to Osman, it was Ty’s idea to be a registered donor. She is comforted in knowing that Kelly Barnes
was the recipient of Ty’s Kidney and pancreas. Barnes who was at the dedication said, “It feels good”.
So far, there are 21 organ donors at the Wall of Heroes.
The importance of organ donation cannot be over emphasized.
According to organdonor.gov:
115,210 people are waiting for an organ
18 people will die each day waiting for an organ
1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives
Dr. Howard Koh – Assistant Secretary forHealth,U.S.Department of Health and Human Services and Dr. Clive Callender – Professor of Surgery,HowardUniversityand Founder of the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program brought organ donation into a sharper focus as it concerns minorities.
More than half the people waiting for a transplant are minorities and 35% of the minorities are African American. Minorities are three times more likely to suffer from end-stage kidney disease due to high blood pressure or diabetes. Although organs are not matched according to race/ethnicity, critical matching markers are more likely to be found among members with the same ethnicity. A greater diversity of donors increases the possibility for transplantation for everyone.
Due in part to the great efforts of Dr. Callender the number of minority donors has doubled since 1996. People are encouraged to register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor. In addition, learn how to register as a donor in your state at organdonor.gov. Moreover, encourage friends and family members to choose organ donation and give the greatest gifts of all; hope and life.
A few facts about organ, eye, and tissue donation in general:
- Anyone can sign up to be a donor.
- Most major religions support organ donation and consider it to be the final act of love and generosity.
- Doctors will always try to save your life when you are admitted to the hospital
- Recipients are chosen by severity of illness, blood type, waiting time, important medical information, and geographic location.
- Contrary to popular opinion and myth, an open casket funeral for the dead donor is usually possible. The body is always treated with care and respect.
- There is no cost to the families of a donor.
- Every state provides access to a donor registry.
Every 10 minutes someone new is added to the waiting list. Each day 79 people receive a transplanted organ. However, during that same day 18 people died waiting for an organ.
In 2011, the waiting list consisted of 45% White, 29% Black, 18% Hispanic, and 7% Asian.
As of August 2012, the number of recipients on the waiting list is 115,190. The number of donors is 5,679.
Transplantation does work! About 68.1% of recipients are still alive after 5 years.