FLOWOOD, Miss.- It’s been a good year for people in Mississippi in need of organ and tissue donations, according to the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA).
MORA reported that in 2016 they recovered 262 organs from a record 88 donors and 267 tissue donors had their wishes granted. The organs and tissues received didn’t only help Mississippians but people across the country. These donations are vital in saving lives and aiding in the healing process for thousands.
“Simply put, people in Mississippi care about others,” said Kevin Stump, Chief Executive Officer of MORA.”That statement is never truer than when you are talking about someone who gave selflessly of themselves to save the lives of others or of their family that ultimately made the decision for their loved one to be a donor in their darkest moment.”
Stump said that if families in Mississippi weren’t signing up on the registry, transplantation wouldn’t happen. Without the generosity of these families that donated there would be people walking around today that wouldn’t be walking around otherwise.
Organ donation often comes at an imperative time for the donor. Brad Fitzgerald, a McComb man said “I’m sure they can’t grasp how they are going to help someone else, just like I can’t grasp the loss that they are going through.”
Fitzgerald is a donor recipient after receiving a new heart in 2016. He struggled with a heart condition since 1999. He was put on the transplant waiting list in 2015.
“You experience about 10 different emotions in about ten seconds. You’re happy, but you’re sad. All the time that I was on the list I was dealing with the fact that someone was going to die for me to get better. There are a lot of emotions you go through on that list and helplessness is one of them. When that help comes it is one of those things you can’t believe that it happened.”
“On average there are about 1,500 people waiting for an organ transplant [in Mississippi] and about 1,200 of them are waiting for a kidney transplant,” said Stump.
While kidney transplants make up the majority of transplants in the state getting on the waiting list is no easy task, nor is it always a quick one.
“It’s very individualized depending on someones blood type or their immune system. Waiting time is a factor but with the University of Mississippi Medical Center kidney transplant list and with the number of families donating here in Mississippi, the waiting times tend to be shorter than other parts of the country,” said Stump.
While transplants were topping charts at an all time high the University of Mississippi Medical Center was breaking it’s own record. They transplanted over 2010 organs into 197 patients. Sixteen of those procedures happened over a seven-day period in October.
Stump stressed that even though it was a record year, the transplant list is growing and they still need more and more families to consider giving the Gift of Life.
There are currently over 120,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list.