Celebrating the selfless act of organ donation


GRAFTON—Donating one’s organs may very well be the last selfless act a person can make in their life, and April is set aside as a month to celebrate those generous individuals who gave someone else a better chance at life.

April is designated as National Donate Life Month and is a time to applaud those who have chosen to save a life by opting to become organ, eye, tissue marrow and blood donors. To help celebrate, officials from Grafton City Hospital and CORE, the Center for Organ Replacement & Education, held a flag raising ceremony.

“It is an honor to celebrate National Donate Life Month with Grafton City Hospital,” said Jeremy Zeiders, Professional Service Liaison/Donor Family Supports Coordinator for CORE.

He shared that CORE’s mission is about saving lives of those in need of a transplant, as well as helping donor families heal after they experience a loss.

“To help us achieve that mission, CORE depends on our donation partners, and that has never been more true than in the past year,” Zeiders noted. “Even amidst the pandemic, our hospital partners found innovative ways to support CORE so we could continue to say lives. You helped us bring light to a very dark time.”

He revealed that last year, through the shared commitment, Grafton City Hospital was able to recover two corneas, that gave sight to two individuals and help to provide 75 tissues recipients world-wide with the chance at a better life.

The organization was able to complete 792 life-saving organ transplants, an increase of approximately 20 percent over their 2019 numbers, which was also a record setting year for CORE, according to Zeiders.

According to CORE, there are 112,000 people waiting for an organ transplant, nationally, and that every ten minutes someone new is added to the list. Within their service area, CORE reports approximately 2,600 people are in need of a transplant.

Additionally, 250,000 individuals are in need of tissue and corneal transplants each day. And unfortunately, 20 people will die each day waiting on that life-saving transplant.

Through organ donation, a person can potentially save eight individuals, and can heal approximately 75 others through tissue donation. Donors can give their kidneys, pancreas, liver, lungs, heart, tissue and corneas, in addition to other organs.

“Last year, CORE recovered nearly 800 corneas, giving sight to just as many individuals,” Zeider disclosed. “And we restored the health and mobility of up to 90,000 tissue recipients worldwide. Please note that last year, there were eight tissue recoveries that occurred at Grafton City Hospital, allowing up to 600 of those tissue recipients to be helped.”

According to Grafton City Hospital Chief Administrative Officer George Boyles, the hospital began working with CORE in April of last year, with the first recovery effort taking place in May.

“Grafton serves as a tissue recovery center, a regional one. Tissue recovery has a 24-hour time frame, and our recovery staff is located in Pittsburgh,” Zeider explained. “So, Grafton has become our meet-in-the-middle spot and receives patients from areas like the southern part of the state, and then efforts are coordinated to ensure prompt recovery of the tissue.”

He noted that every type of tissue recovery has been performed at Grafton City Hospital, including, bone, heart valves and corneas.

“I have always been how appreciative of how professional the representatives that come in to do recovery has been,” Boyles said. “This has been a great partnership and we look forward to expanding it.” 

There are two options in West Virginia for those who make the decision to save the lives of others by donating organs: they can opt to have the designation put on their driver’s license or state issued identification card, or by signing up anytime online at www.core.org/register.

Zeider also shared that individuals may utilize a QR code located on posters found at Grafton City Hospital to sign up.

To find out more about donating life, visit www.core.org or call 1-800-DONORS-7.

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