Organ donor families and transplant patients gather at University Hospital on National Donate Life Month Blue & Green Day to raise a flag in recognition of generosity of donors
Organ donation has saved countless lives and improved many others, and those gifts were celebrated Friday at University Hospital.
“Every breath I have taken since June 7, 2010 has been because of that incredible gift,” said the Rev. Dot Delarosa, who received a lung transplant in 2010 and went on to found the Pulmonary Fibrosis Association of Texas.
But if everyone who had put off registering as a donor took the time to do so, it could save so many more. On average, 22 people die each day due to a shortage of donors. For that reason, the Blue & Green Day Walk for Life at University Hospital is also to raise awareness of this vital gift.
Mary Krebs’ son Jacob drowned in 2013 while training in preparation to join the U.S. Navy SEALs. He was brought to University Hospital, but doctors determined that he was brain dead.
“As we prayed, God’s plan for Jacob was revealed to us,” Krebs told the group. “It couldn’t have been any plainer. It was Easter Sunday, and Jacob lives on in others.”
“We learned that Jacob saved the lives of at least four people that day,” she said, and because of the healing her family experienced through that knowledge, she became an advocate for organ donation.
“Age is not a factor in organ donation, nor is diabetes or heart disease,” she said. “And if you say, ‘They wouldn’t want mine,’ you’d be surprised.”
Krebs also urged transplant patients to reach out to the families of organ donors, even with just a short note, saying it gives the families great comfort to know the recipients are OK.
Registering to be an organ donor is also a gift for one’s own family, said Joseph Nespral, chief operating officer of the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance.
“The registry actually makes it much easier for families” during a time of loss, Nespral said.
There are 123,000 women, men and children awaiting a lifesaving transplant, and thanks to increased awareness, our transplants have increased. One donor can save eight lives, and each registration serves as a symbol of hope to every patient awaiting a lifesaving or healing transplant.
University Transplant Center and Texas Organ Sharing Alliance leaders joined the patients and donor families in the walk and in signing the Transplant Games of America flag that will be flown in Cleveland, Ohio on June 10.
Register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at www.DonateLifeTexas.org/UHS