Organ donation, with the primary exception of living kidney donation, takes place after death and provides the gift of life to tens of thousands each year through heart, kidney, lung, liver, pancreas or intestine transplants. LifeLink of Georgia, is the non-profit organ and tissue recovery organization facilitates the recovery of life-saving and life-enhancing organs and tissues for transplantation therapy in the state of Georgia and two counties in South Carolina, Aiken and Edgefield. “Every year the number of Americans who receive organ transplants increases thanks to the generosity of organ donors,” said Kathleen Lilly, Sr. Vice President/Executive Director of LifeLink of Georgia. “However, there are not enough donor organs available to save all who are in need.” There are more than 120,000 Americans waiting nationally for a transplant; including nearly 3,500 Georgians. Without the generosity of organ donors those waiting will die.
Cynthia Edwards and Mike Rampey feel today as if they have known each other forever. In fact, they met face to face for the first time in 2004 – but the bonds they formed have made them family. Summer 2003, Mike suffered from end stage heart failure and he needed a life-saving heart transplant. Miles away in Savannah, Cynthia faced a tragedy of her own, the death of her oldest son, twenty-three-year-old Melvin. Melvin became an organ donor and saved Mike’s life, and the lives of six others. Cynthia knew Melvin would want it that way, giving the gift of life was the right thing to do. Soon after Melvin’s passing, Cynthia and Mike began to communicate with letters and eventually met in person. Together they keep Melvin’s memory alive, spending time with one another on holidays, sharing their story of renewed life and getting together “just because.” LifeLink’s Multicultural Donation Education Program (MDEP) provides factual information about donation and transplantation to Georgia’s multicultural communities through speaking engagements, at health fairs and with the media.
To request a free presentation or to learn more about organ and tissue donation in the multicultural community visit www.lifelinkfound.org/ga or contact LifeLink’s Multicultural Donation Education Program at 800-365-2066. To designate your decision to be an organ, tissue and eye donor sign-up on the state’s organ and tissue donor registry at www.donatelifegeorgia.org or call 1-866-57-SHARE (74273).