COLUMBUS, Ga — Valentine’s Day is a time for love and also to raise awareness of the need for organ donors. February 14 is National Donor Day and also the day we highlight wonderful ways organ donations transform lives.
“According to statistics, 22 people die each day waiting to get an organ transplant,” says Vickie Taylor, Group Facility Administrator at DaVita Dialysis.
And every 10 minutes a new name gets added to the transplant waiting lists, demonstrating the endless cycle of need for organ donors. Sometimes, the call comes just a little late. It’s a sad reality the folks at DaVita in Columbus recently witnessed with one of their longtime patients.
“She got called for her kidney, and her and her daughter were there, and before transportation could get there to pick her up, to get her kidney to get to Atlanta, she passed away,” says Taylor.
But it doesn’t have to be that way—if there were more donors. Carla Hawkins, with LifeLink of Georgia, was not always an organ donor herself. But now she spends her time educating others about organ donation.
“Once I’m gone, that my legacy is living on and that I’m allowing people to continue to live, their life to be enhanced by a gift I’m not using anymore. That’s what I want people to understand. That’s what it’s about,” says Hawkins.
“That gift is truly a gift of life. It’s not just a catch phrase. It’s the truth,” says Dr. Tamorie Smith, Nephrologist, with Renal Associates.
Dr. Smith says it’s important not only to sign up to be an organ donor, but to make those wishes known to your family.
“Tell your family, and/or have a living will, so that your wishes are documented in black and white. Because if that’s the case, that paperwork will stand. If it’s a legal document it will stand,” says Dr. Smith.
Carol Ann Kirkland, in her position as a social worker with DaVita, has seen the transforming power of organ donations.
“So being able to get that kidney, going back to a normal work schedule, being around for family vacations and activities . . . it gives them those moments back,” says Kirkland.
Precious moments granted by a true gift of life.
If you’re interested in learning more about organ donation: