Special to the MBJ
JACKSON, Mississippi – The Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency and University of Mississippi Medical Center teamed up on Tuesday to promote the start of National Donate Life Month. The highlight of the celebration was a ceremonial balloon release at noon to honor organ, eye and tissue donors from UMMC and celebrate the miracle of the organs transplanted at Mississippi’s only transplant center. Following the balloon release, donor families, recipients, doctors, nurses and staff members from MORA and UMMC enjoyed a picnic lunch hosted by MORA.
“Our transplant programs at UMMC have made great strides in the past few years, and we are excited about the future and what it holds. MORA is a key partner in our goal to meet the transplant needs of our state. Celebrating the start of National Donate Life Month is a great way for us to show our strong bond and partnership in saving the lives of Mississippians,” Dr. Chris Anderson, the Chief of Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery at UMMC, said in a news release.
Dr. Shirley Schlessinger, MORA Medical Director, echoed those sentiments. “We are excited to be partners with UMMC for the start of this month long celebration. This National Donate Life Month kickoff party is just one way for the MORA staff to show our dedication to the transplant program and our commitment to saving the lives of Mississippians.”
This is the 12th year that April has been recognized as National Donate Life Month.
In Mississippi there are more than 1,300 men, women and children waiting on a lifesaving transplant and that is part of the growing number nationally, which is now over 121,000. An average of 18 Americans die each day awaiting a gift that never comes. To register as an organ, eye and tissue donor go to www.donatelifems.org.