Its national donate life month and as our Kianga Kelley shows us, the Legacy Donor Foundation was at the motor vehicles office today to drive home the importance of becoming an organ donor.
Studies show that at least 18 people die in America each day waiting for an organ, a simple gift that is often taken for granted. Looking at the smile on Clarence Richardson’s face you’d never know that just seven years ago he desperately needed a heart. But thanks to a young man willing to donate he’s been given a second chance. “It’s given me seven years of spending time with my grandchildren, seven years of spending with my life.”
And he’s not alone. Millions rely on donors everyday, but the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency has noticed a major problem, a lack of people willing to donate. The problem the organization says is mostly fear of the unknown. LOPA says in order to donate the person would have to be brain dead.
After hearing testimonies from the families of donors and recipients James Jarvis had a change of heart and decided to put his heart on his license. “I don’t have anything to lose, I’ll be gone already so might as well let somebody live.” Our Kianga Kelly also overcame her doubts and signed up.
Hugging an old dialysis partner, Leea Leichman was overcome with emotion. She was fortunate to receive two kidney transplants. Her friend is still waiting. “Four hours a day, three days a week and we both worked and we both struggled and I’ve finally got my kidney and I haven’t been back yet.”
LOPA says there are over 103,000 people waiting for an organ match in Louisiana. If you would like to become a donor click here. Ten years ago only 10% of Louisianians were registered as organ donors, today that number has increased by 40%.