Adrian Murry of Hattiesburg suffered the loss of her son Kendrick in September of 2015.
Her message at the Mississippi State Capitol on Wednesday was that Kendrick still lives on because of his decision to register as an organ donor. Through donating six organs, Kendrick saved five lives.
“That was truly a selfless decision,” said Adrian Murry. “It was from his heart and I can’t do anything but honor that (decision).”
Murry was part one of the speakers at a press conference held by Donate Life Mississippi to recognize Wednesday, January 31, 2018 as Donate Life Day in Mississippi. Donate Life Mississippi is a union formed by Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA), Mid-South Transplant Foundation (MSTF) and the Mississippi Lions Eye Bank (MLEB) and Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) to promote the need for organ, eye and tissue donation. Senator Josh Harkins sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution number 572 that recognized the need for organ, eye and tissue donation across the country and in Mississippi where over 1,300 Mississippians are in currently in need of a life-saving organ transplant.
Michael Minor also spoke at the capitol on Wednesday. Minor is the Worship Pastor at West Point Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, the church Adrian and her family attends. He is also one of five people that received a new lease on life by receiving one of Kendrick’s kidneys. His need of a kidney was one of the things that Murry thought of when she found out her son was a registered organ donor. Minor said that act resonates with him daily.
“Think of others more than yourself. Think of the lives you can enrich, extend, save though donation,” said Minor.
According to United Network for Organ Sharing, 2017 was a record year with 10,281 deceased donors across the country that accounted for over 34,000 lifesaving organ transplants. The fact that more people and families are saying ‘yes’ to donation is not lost on the Donate Life community.
“We are encouraged by the trends we have seen lately,” said MORA CEO Kevin Stump. “Trends that show people are willing to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and give hope to those in need,” added Stump.
That trend is reflected by the record number of newly registered donors in Mississippi in 2017. It is a required by law that DPS examiners ask those receiving a new Mississippi Driver’s License or renewing a current one if they wish to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. The 60,377 new donors that registered in 2017 marked an all-time high for DPS registrations in the state. Major Ken Brown, who is over Driver’s Services for DPS, says the Donate Life Mississippi partnership and educational programs for examiners that feature donor families and recipients sharing their stories are having an impact on his staff. “By seeing the testimonials that people are sharing at the regional meetings, it means a lot to the state to tell them (driver’s examiners) why it is so important,” said Brown. To date, DPS has accounted for over 98% of the 830,000+ donor designations in Mississippi.
Brown added that across the country, a new patient is added to the national transplant waiting list every 10 minutes and an average of 20 people die each day awaiting a lifesaving transplant that never comes, however, one organ donor has the potential to save eight lives and one tissue donor can save or improve the lives of 50 or more recipients.