“It's nice to know that somebody was there to save my life,” said Debie. “Every day is a blessing. So, I intend to live to be 100.”
About two years after the successful transplant, Debie and Mary met, and became instant friends. Debie felt some guilt, knowing someone had to die in order for her to receive the liver transplant. She said Mary helped relieve those feelings.
“Meeting Mary made it so much better,” Debie said.
“You know, things happen in life, and in tragedies that do happen if something good can come out of it and people can live, that's what we need to do,” said Mary.
Now, together, they are raising awareness about being an organ donor. The two women spoke to a group of critical care nurses participating in an RN Champion Program at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center on Friday. The program is put on by Indiana Organ Procurement Organization to train nurses on the organ and tissue donation process.
“It’s very, very important for people to [register to be a donor], because you never know when something may happen in your life,” said Mary.
“There's people out there waiting, and unfortunately people die on that list, because there's just not enough to go around,” added Debie.
The two women believe the best gift you can give is the gift of life.
About Organ Donation
About 110,000 people in the United States are waiting for an organ transplant. You can sign up to be an organ and tissue donor at any BMV branch, or online.
Register at www.DonateLifeIndiana.org or www.iopo.org.
Organs that can be donated for transplantation include kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, and small intestine. Tissues that can be donated include corneas, skin, heart valves, bones, veins, tendons, and cartilage.
Some organs and tissues not suitable for transplant can be donated for medical research. This type of donation will help researchers prevent, cure, or more effectively treat diseases and conditions.
Quick Facts from Indiana Organ Procurement Organization
- In 2009, 490 people received organ transplants as a result of the 145 organ donors in Indiana.
- IOPO facilitated 734 tissue donation cases in 2009.
- An organ donor can save the lives of up to 8 people and one tissue donor can save/enhance the lives of up to 75 people.
- You do not need to rule yourself out as a donor because of a medical condition or your age.
- More than 1 million tissue transplants are done each year.
- On average, 133 people are added to the nation’s transplant waiting list every day—one in every 11 minutes.
- Sadly, an average of 18 patients die each day waiting for an organ transplant.