Jackson, MS – Linda Amos knows firsthand the importance of organ donation.
“Without donor families, I would not be able to be here,” said the heart transplant recipient who just passed the four year anniversary of her transplant April 16. Her story was just one of the many that were shared today at the inaugural Legacy Lap event hosted by the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA), the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and the University Transplant Guild on the UMMC campus in Jackson.
Hosted during National Donate Life Month, the event brought together families of organ, eye and tissue donors along with transplant recipients and their families to celebrate those who have given the gift of life and to promote the need for organ, eye and tissue donation in Mississippi.
“When you see a recipient and a donor family together and you just know how happy the recipient family is, it does help in some way and it gives you peace of mind,” said Liz Wroten, a donor mother whose son, Chase, was Linda Amos’ heart donor. Chase was a multiple organ donor.
“During the balloon release, all I could think about was him (Chase) and what he did for people like Linda. It means the world for me to be here with Linda.”
The balloon launch by donor and recipient family members, along with MORA and UMMC staff members, was the highlight of the event. The Legacy Lap was scheduled to feature a walk through the University Hospital lobby to view the Wall of Heroes, which honors past organ donors but weather concerns cancelled that portion of the event. Pictures of both Walls of Heroes, which honor past adult and pediatric organ donors, were on display for viewing.
The event also highlighted the work of the UMMC’s transplant program. During the last five years there have been 181 organ donors from UMMC, resulting in more than 650 life-saving transplants.
Currently, more than 1,400 Mississippians and 123,000 Americans are in need of a life-saving transplant. A new person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 10 minutes and an average of 21 people die each day waiting for a life-saving transplant that never comes.
To register as an organ, eye and tissue donor, please go to www.donatelifems.org.