Throughout the month of April, in celebration of National Donate Life Month, Garrett Regional Medical Center is partnering with regional organ donation partners who include The Living Legacy Foundation, Maryland’s organ procurement organization and the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) of western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
GRMC will fly the Donate Life Flag in honor of past, present, and future organ, eye, and tissue donors in conjunction with the national “Flags Across America” campaign, which brings a greater awareness to the 114,000 people waiting nationally for a life-saving organ transplant. In Maryland, an estimated 3,400 people are waiting for an organ transplant, while in neighboring western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, 2,500 people are waiting for an organ transplant.
“We are excited to participate in this campaign, along with The Living Legacy Foundation’s Donate Life Maryland and the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) to bring awareness to organ, eye, and tissue donation,” said Reba Rush, Director of Quality and Risk Management. “We hope our awareness and education activities in recognition of National Donate Life Month inspire people to become organ donors and give hope to the nearly 114,000 people who are waiting for a life-saving transplant.”
Garrett Regional Medical Center held a flag raising ceremony as part of The Living Legacy Foundation’s Flags Across American campaign on April 16. The ceremony featured speakers from Living Legacy Foundation, including an organ recipient. Hospital staff participated in the ceremony, including Brenda Livengood, a registered nurse in GRMC’s Med Surgical Unit, whose late father was an organ donor. She was joined by her daughters, and Hannah Wiltison, who are also GRMC employees.
Approximately 11,000 people die annually who are considered medically suitable to donate organs, tissue and corneas, yet only a fraction donate. Anyone can be a potential donor regardless of age, race or medical history. Marylanders can register to designate themselves as organ, eye, and tissue donors, either through the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration or the Maryland Donor Registry at www.donatelifemaryland.org. West Virginia residents can register at https://donatelife.wv.gov.
The “Flags Across America” campaign began in Southern California in 2008, when a nurse sent out a single email urging hospitals to “fly the flag at as many places as possible in April.” Since then, it is estimated that more than 25,000 flags have been flown in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. Flags are flown at hospitals, transplant centers, donation agencies, funeral homes, and motor vehicle administrations. These flags bring hope to donor families and transplant recipients alike.