Donate for Life
Organ donors, organ recipients, and donor families gathered today at Bethel Park to mark the end to National Donate Life Month.
The message wasn't only about donation it was more about celebrating life and honoring those that have donated or received donations. It was also about telling the community that there are not enough transplant organs today for everyone who needs one.
Everybody there had a story to tell. Many of them said organ donation is what makes life a special gift.
"The fact that he thought about organ donation or and even consented to doing that I think is, a good thing," said Kelly Deline.
Deline can still barely hold back the tears. It's been almost five years since her son Jacob died in a car accident.
But through donating her son's organs, some of her sadness has gone away.
"I think that he'd be really proud to know that I carried out his wishes," said DeLine "And I think he'd be really excited to know that he touched the lives of so many others."
DeLine joined others in launching balloons, and placing paper hearts around a memorial tree to remember those who have died, and those who have donated.
"An event like this, we would hope to pull out a lot of community folks to come and both, ya know celebrate the lives we saved through donation and to learn more about donation and transplantation," said Lori Clark, Midwest Transplant Network.
According to the Midwest Transplant Network, more than 95,000 people nationwide are in need of an organ transplant.
On average, 17 people die every day due to a lack of available organs.For Deline, organ donation is a must, especially since it touches her so personally.
"The man who has his heart," said DeLine. "He's in his late forties and, he said that his wife can definitely tell that he has a younger man's heart in his body, which I think is really funny."
She says understanding organ donation now could save lives in the future.
"Discuss organ donation with your family and also I'd just like to encourage everyone to, not to forget to say I love you because you never know when it's going to be the last time you see your loved one," said DeLine.
There are a number of ways in which you can sign up to be an organ donor.The most common way to do so is when you re-new your driver's license.
Organizers caution that it's important to think about organ donation not only this month, but year round as well.