The holidays are upon us, and what better thing to give, than the gift of life?
Organ transplants save thousands of people every year, still many more end up on waiting lists, and never get the organs they need to survive.
When John Hirchak was fourteen years old, he lost his father. “As a little boy, I would have given anything, anything, if someone would have stepped up and offered my father a kidney,” he said.
Hirchak thinks that may be what inspired his step-daughter Lindsay to sign up to be an organ donor when she got her driver’s license when she turned 16.
“At 18, she was up at ECU and it was in March of 2009, and we got the awful call in the middle of the night that she had passed away. It wasn’t until the next morning that we received a call from the Carolina Donors Association telling us that Lindsay was an organ donor. We weren’t even aware of that.”
Just one person signing up to be an organ and tissue donor can help about 50 others.
“Currently we have over 3,000 people waiting for a life-saving transplant in the state of North Carolina; we have 100,000 people waiting nationally, and we don’t have enough donors to save or enhance the lives of those people who need transplants,” said Dwain cooper of Carolina Donor Services.
Lindsay’s eyes helped someone see again. Her tendon helped a girl continue her love for volleyball. A man can now continue playing sports.
“I know a piece of Lindsay is in all these different people right now, helping them to lead normal lives, helping them to live,” John said.
You can sign up to become an organ donor when you come to the DMV to get or renew your driver’s license, or you can register at donatelifenc.org.
“My mother, she’s just, I call her the bull, she’s had dozens of heart attacks, a major stroke, two different cancers, she’s diabetic, she’s had so many things wrong with her, and she’ll be the first to tell you, who’s going to want what I have, having been through what I’ve been through, and I tell her, someone, someone will,” John explained.
Duane Cooper from Carolina Donor Services says a person has eight organs that can be donated, so even if you have a bad heart, someone could still benefit from your lungs, or eyes, for example.
Tomorrow on WWAY, we’ll introduce you to a woman who says she owes her life to her brother.