Highland flies flag of commitment to raise organ donor awareness
Highland Community Hospital raised a flag to signify its dedication and support of organ donation in a ceremony held Monday afternoon. Sonny Soileau from the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency was the guest speaker for the event.
HCH Administrator Mark Stockstill said, “We are here today to formally declare our support and engagement of the donor program.”
Soileau told attendees that there are more than 121,000 people waiting for an organ transplant. A new person is added to that list every 10 minutes.
“Daily, an average of 18 people who are waiting on that list die. Currently there are over 1,300 Mississippi residents on that list.”
He told the group that while it was easy to understand how organ donation can benefit people in need of a transplant, donation is also about the kind and generous people who agree to give the gift of life.
“This gift can provide a sense of comfort to grieving donor families who have just lost a loved one,” Soileau said. “To quote a recent donor father, ‘At times it’s a positive in a very dark place.’”
Soileau credited the strength, generosity and compassion of the donor families for giving hope to people on transplant waiting lists.
After the flag was raised, those in attendance were encouraged to take material containin statistics on organ donation and register to become donors.
In 2013, MORA recovered 229 organs from 70 donors. There were also 142 tissue donors. Of the more than 1,300 state residents currently on the waiting list for transplants, more than 1,200 are waiting for kidneys.
“MORA’s work in facilitating organ and tissue donations is vitally important to our community,” Coroner Derek Turnage said. “As a coroner, I work with this on a weekly basis and the most important thing I can stress is to either pre-register your wishes to be an organ and tissue donor or ensure your family knows. This will alleviate anxiety when the time comes to follow through with those wishes on your behalf.”
For more information on organ donation either contact Highland Community Hospital at 601-358-9400 or MORA at 228-872-7268. Visit www.DonateLifeMS.org.
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