This April marks the 11th annual National Donate Life Month, a celebration commemorating those who have given the gift of life through organ, eye and tissue donation. For those whose lives have been saved or healed by a transplant, National Donate Life Month provides a chance to share their story to encourage more people to register as donors. In celebration of National Donate Life Month, Gibson County Clerk Joyce Brown, will be holding a donor appreciation day on April 14, 2014 1:00 PM at the Gibson County Clerk’s office to honor Gibson County residents that have selflessly donated the gift of life and to celebrate locals that have received a transplant.
Mr. Kenneth Bolton, a former parole officer, was 57 when he learned he had weeks to live without a liver and kidney transplant.On April 30th, 2010, 9 days after being added to the transplant waiting list, Kenneth received the call that a young woman had given the most precious gift of all – the gift of life. He received the transplant that was so desperately needed, saving his life. When asked his thought’s about the young woman who gave the gift Kenneth said, “ She and her family will forever be in our hearts and minds and will always remain our Heroes.”
Another local, Mrs. Warnetta Vaughn, had been on the kidney transplant waiting list for five years and did not know how long she would survive without a transplant. On a Sunday in April 2013, Warnetta’s life was forever changed. Upon coming home from church, she received a call from a family member asking if she wanted to receive a loved ones kidney, whom had just passed away. With mixed emotions of being sad for the family and being happy that they thought of her, she quickly responded with “Yes and thank you!” Mrs. Vaughn stated that she had almost given up hope but her family told her to be patient and wait on the Lord. 73 year old Warnetta Vaughn is now able to live on, because of the selfless gift that was given to her.
“The transplant waiting list is made up of people of all ages,” says Sharon Pakis, Manager, Public Education Relations, Tennessee Donor Services. “Likewise, it’s important to show that people of any age can make a powerful difference in someone’s life by being a donor. Donation saves and heals lives every day, but it can only happen when someone makes the important decision to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor. You can make that lifesaving difference by registering your decision.”
There are now 112 million registered donors in the United States, over 1,890,000 from the state of Tennessee. In 2013, 421 Tennesseans gave the gift of life, saving 796 lives. Still, the number of people in need of transplants continues to outpace the supply of donated organs. More than 120,000 people in the US and over 2,600 in Tennesee are currently awaiting a transplant, and sadly, an average of 18 patients die every day, because the organ they needed was not donated in time. The solution to this problem is to continue educating the public about the lifesaving effects of donation and transplantation.
Tennesseans can register to be an organ donor by simply Checking YES when applying for or renewing their driver’s license. A small red heart is placed on the driver license. Residents can also sign up online by visiting www.donatelifetn.org
To register to be a donor or for more information visit www.DonateLifeTN.org