Donors remembered for life-changing gift

Reported by: Wayne Hereford
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Updated: 4/21/2013 11:01 pm
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- The Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency held its 6th Annual North Mississippi Organ Recognition Ceremony in Tupelo Sunday.

The program honors families that have made the tough choice of allowing a family member to donate their tissues and organs after death.

Some forty different families were on hand at the Gloster Creek Village in Tupelo to receive recognition from the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency.

Everyone who comes has lost a loved one, most of them remembered by way of a large screen or Gift of Life Quilt with picutres of those who have donated organs and some who have received them as well.

One of the donor recipients on hand was Caitland Goode of Amory.

She is also one of several students awarded a scholarship for writing about donors.

She said would not be alive had it not been for her best friend who passed away.

"Ivy Lee from Hamilton, Miss., passed the day I got my transplant. I was 15 and didn't know what to think. I kind of cried because one of my friends was losing her life and it's kind of hard," Goode said.

Her story is like so many others here who took time to remember loved ones as well.

Not only were deceased family members' names read out loud, they were placed on a memorial that will stand in the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency offices.

Organizers say they realize this is a sad and solemn occasion and can be tough on family members in attendance here.

However, they add if there is a silver lining to this cloud, it is that those who have lost their lives and made donations have ensured others will live on.

"I know that's something he wanted to do. He lived a good life. And you're never ready to give them up," said Teresa Darwin of Okolona.

"Of course she's still living here. Actually one day we hope to meet the recipients of the cornea [transplant]," said Teresa Fields-Roberts of Tupelo. "We are told that two people now can see now because of her cornea donation."

"It's very important when you think of people who are waiting for transplants and pass away because they don't get it," said Christie Carter of Amory. "It's more than just the organs that can be donated. There's tissues that can help."

There is also more need for donors, say organizers.

"There's a dire need. In Mississippi alone, there are 800 individuals right now waiting for a kidney," said Ron Waterman of the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency.

They are waiting, he says, for people like those honored Sunday.

Waterman said people should discuss organ donation with family members.

If you choose to do so you can go online to www.LifeMississippi.org, register at any Mississippi driver's license bureau, or simply call the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency.
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