National Donor Day is Feb. 14, and a local man who received the gift of life is raising awareness.
Inside the lobby of UPMC Hamot, a table was filled with Valentine's Day cards and material from the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE). Nearby a man was encouraging people to join the organ donor registry.
Dave Piotrowicz is passionate about organ donation because he's a heart transplant recipient. The Erie man began having fainting spells in the mid-2000s; otherwise, seemingly healthy. His wife convinced him to get checked.
His condition rapidly declined, forcing him to use a pacemaker and then an artificial heart. He says he was near death's door when he finally received his transplant in 2008.
Some people have not gotten their second chance.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), nearly 120,000 people are actively waiting for a transplant. On average, 22 people die each day while waiting.
Piotrowicz says he wants to do his part to get the message out.
For organ donor registry, visit https://www.registerme.org/.