Hundreds of people in Pennsylvania are waiting for a potentially life-saving organ transplant. One local hospital is looking to raise awareness and drive up organ registration.
At UPMC Hamot, officials launched their first ever PA Donor Day. Every ten minutes, someone in the state is told that they need a life saving transplant. PA Donor Day is January 8th because one person can save up to eight lives as an organ donor.
“It’s changed my life, it’s my second chance of life,” said Terry Cassalt, a liver transplant recipient.
For some, it’s literally the gift of life. Bill Coehle should know, when his son passed away, Bill and his wife decided to donate his son’s organs.
“I was very gratified to learn that several weeks afterwards that there were five people that were helped and three of the five were veterans. I am a veteran, my son was a veteran so it was very gratifying that we had that kind of impact.” Coehle said.
Coehle says its a special way to keep his son alive.
“He may not be part of our lives as a family member anymore but he is part of our lives knowing that part of him is still out there helping other people.” Coehle said.
Last year, there was a record 23 organ donors at the hospital, they saved the lives of 67 people through organ transplant. Folks who are looking for more information about how they can help, they can find more information through CORE or other organizations.
UPMC Hamot along with the organization C.O.R.E. which stands for Center for Organ Recovery and Educations along with Donate Life PA, hope to have more donors in the future.
“It’s really important that we are doing things like this just to create awareness and get people involved,” said Janelle Rzodkiewicz of C.O.R.E. “And get people involved in the hospital, there is a ton of traffic that comes through the lobby.”
“There are many, many people on the wait list, there are over 7500 people in the state of Pennsylvania who are on the wait list.” said David Gibbons, president of UPMC Hamot.
Also at UPMC Hamot, people were invited to sign the Donate Life flag.