AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – August is National Minority Donation Awareness Month.
National reports show that more than 100,000 people are waiting for organ, tissue, or eye donation. One donation can save up to 75 lives. Life Link Georgia held an event Wednesday at the Dental College of Georgia sharing testimonies of organ donation.
“It’s a huge legacy that we can still give on even after we pass away,” said Tracy Ide, Public Affairs Manager of LifeLink of Georgia.
Tracy Ide of Life Link Georgia tells us that there are about 3,000 people waiting for a donation state wide.
Ide’s mother is a two-time heart and one-time kidney transplant recipient.
“I witnessed firsthand that donation works,” said Ide. “But I think the true heroes are the people who say ‘yes’…and their families.”
Ide says that 73% of people waiting for donations in Georgia are people of color.
“It does help sometimes for someone of the same ethnicity to donate to someone of their same color,” said Ide. “Because of the things that our bodies- our genetics- do. It’s helpful.”
Scott Kelly was born with cystic fibrosis.
“I watched over the years as my lung function went from the high 90s, to the 80s, to the 70s, to the 60s, to the 50s, to the 40s, and even into the high 30s,” said Kelly. “A]t which point I needed a transplant if I was going to live.”
After his double lung transplant, Kelly said he breathed like he never had before.
Steven King was his donor.
“He made the decision as a 15-year-old when he got his first license in Alabama to become a donor,” said Kelly. “Because of Steven’s unselfish decision, I’m sitting here.”
William Bailey received a liver transplant due to complications from a genetic condition.
“For two years, I wasn’t ever able to sing a solo,” said Bailey. “I went for a year that I wasn’t able to even sing at all in the church.”
“I can’t even begin to put into words,” said Bailey through tears. “What this meant to me and my family. I can’t even begin to describe it.”
Bailey went back to church after two months. One month later, he sang his first solo post-op: “He Looked Beyond My Faults”.
“How marvelous the grace it called my falling soul,” Bailey sang. “He looked beyond my faults and saw my need.”
Both Bailey and Kelly say they are living in gratitude for the gift of their organ donations. For more information on how to become an organ, tissue or eye donor, visit DonateLifeGeorgia.org.