April is Donate Life Month. Families of organ donors and organ recipients came together at a ceremony of remembrance at the MU School of Medicine this past Friday.
Gina Lee’s husband wanted to have his organs donated after his death.
“It means a lot to know that life still goes on – just because somebody passes – there’s still life that goes on,” Lee said.
Lee came to the event with her son Jerrin. They both decorated a paper flower with stickers and markers. The flowers honoring organ donors will be displayed in the lobby of the University Hospital.
The Midwest Transplant Network, University Hospital and the Heartland Lions Eye Banks have collaborated on this event for the past five years. Lori Kramer Clark is the hospital services coordinator for the network. Clark says the event is especially important for the families of donors.
“For them to be able to come back and honor their loved one, to be able to meet recipients – not necessarily their loved ones recipients but, you know, to get exposure to the continuum of life,” Clark said.
There are more than 114,000 people on the organ donor waiting list in the United States.
Denise McFarlin has received two organ donations – both kidneys – from her relatives. She says she wants to give the gift of life to others.
“When the time comes, when I do lay down and that’s it – whatever – if they need the eyes, the liver – whatever they can take,” McFarlin said.
Families of donors who gave in 2010 received roses and had the opportunity to say a few words about their loved ones. There was also an opportunity to sign up for the donor registry at the event.