In observance of National Donate Life Month this April, Porter Regional Hospital held a flag-raising ceremony to spread awareness and hope while encouraging attendees to act now and make the decision to become an organ, eye or tissue donor.
“Donations not only impact the recipient, but also everybody involved including families, loved ones, workers at the hospital and the Indiana Donor Network as well,” said Amanda Kuczmanski, Professional Service Coordinator for Indiana Donor Network.
According to Donate Life America, more than 114,000 are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. This is enough to fill Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis twice.
During the event, kidney transplant survivor Kathy Lewis told the crowd she was given “the gift of life.”
“When I got the news, I said ‘I’ll be there in 10 minutes,’” Lewis laughed. “Every day, I thank my donor for the gift of being able to see a new day, and I honor my donor by living my life to its fullest.”
Lewis also explained her gratitude for the organ donor’s family.
“When I stopped to think about the surgery, I realized that my happiest day is, in most cases, the organ donor’s family’s hardest day. But we feel a special bond through everything. We see that something good came out of something tragic,” Lewis said.
In 2018, Porter Regional Hospital was able to heal the lives of 2,850 individuals through organ, tissue, and eye donations. On a larger scale, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network reports that 36,527 transplants were performed nationwide in 2018, which is a 5% increase from 2017.
“We want to make a point during this month especially to thank donors for their heroic experience and everything they’ve done for Porter Regional Hospital’s organ donations. It’s a life-saving and life-changing experience that brings hope to everyone involved,” Kuczmanski said.
Although transplants are increasing, there is still a pressing need for donors, and National Donate Life Month strives to remind Americans that people of all ages and all walks of life can help save lives. One organ donor can save up to eight individuals, one tissue donor can heal the lives of 125 individuals, and one cornea donor can provide the gift of sight for up to two individuals.
“Becoming a donor is one of the most important and meaningful decisions a person can make. I urge everyone to take charge and make this choice because it is a choice no one is able to take away from you,” said Kathy Baker, chairperson for Indiana Donor Network.
There are multiple ways to become an organ donor. You can register as an organ donor at donatelifeindiana.org, indicate on your driver’s license that you want to be an organ donor at your next visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles, adjust any advanced directives you have prepared to include that you want to be an organ donor, and always let your family members know of these intentions.
For additional information on becoming an organ donor, visit www.donatelifeindiana.org.