Donate Life Flag raised at Highland Community Hospital
Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 22, 2017
In recognition of National Donate Life month, Highland Community Hospital held a flag dedication ceremony Friday morning to honor registered donors and their contribution to save lives.
Highland Community Hospital Administrator Mark Stockstill opened the ceremony by sharing statistics about organ, eye and tissue donation.
According to Donate Life Mississippi, over 120,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a life-saving transplant, with over 1,4000 of that number living in Mississippi.
“This is a testament to organ donors and their families,” Stockstill said.
In 2016, Mississippi residents received 262 organ transplants and made 267 tissue donations, according to Donate Life Mississippi, yet every 10 minutes another name is added to the national transplant waiting list.
“Organ donation is a continuation of life,” Sockstill said.
One organ donor can save eight lives, or help heal 50 patients, according to the organization.
Present during Friday’s ceremony was Belinda Smith, a Poplarville resident who donated her daughter’s organs after she passed away in 2014.
Soon after her Kira Bennett’s death, the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency contacted Smith to ask her to donate her daughter’s organs, and possibly save a life.
Smith said she agreed to donate because she saw the need.
“She was the love of my life,” Smith said.
Now, she helps spread the word of organ donation in the name of her daughter, wearing the bright green bracelet proudly announcing that she too, is now an organ donor.
“I want to make sure if something ever happens to me, that they take what they can,” Smith said.
Over 777,000 Mississippians are already registered as an organ, eye and tissue donor, according to the organization.
The Donate Life flag will continue to fly outside the main entrance of the hospital, encouraging others to register as organ donors.
To register or find more information, visit www.DonateLifeMS.org. Donors can also register while receiving or renewing their driver’s license at the Department of Public Safety.