CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Sunday marks the first-ever West Virginia Donor Day, highlighting organ donation.
The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), Donate Life West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice and other local partners including the families of fallen Charleston Police Officer and organ donor Cassie Johnson, are commemorating the day.
“Twenty people die every day because the organs they need are not donated in time,” Justice said. “The most effective way to address the public health crisis surrounding organ donor registrations is to encourage citizens to register as an organ, tissue and cornea donor. We ask the citizens of the state of West Virginia to support and register in this life-saving initiative.”
According to CORE, more than 107,000 people are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant in the United States, including 500 West Virginians. Only 30% of West Virginians are registered organ donors.
“Every day, we at CORE are inspired by the generous West Virginia donors and their families, who through their own grief, choose to give others the gift of life,” said Susan Stuart, president and CEO of CORE in a release. “West Virginia Donor Day is a time to celebrate them. It serves as a moment for communities across the state to come together so that we can all encourage our own family, friends and neighbors to make the Pledge for Life by registering as a donor. The lives of 500 West Virginians are depending on it.”
Sheryl Johnson, the mother of Officer Cassie Johnson recalled her daughter’s final life-saving gift as an organ donor. Johnson was shot and killed in the line of duty in December 2020.
“I’m a firm believer in donation,” Sheryl Johnson said. “I know it’s what she wanted. They sat me down and explained everything to me, told me how many people she could help and maybe give them a little bit more life, and it helped me get through everything.”
In April 2019, Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper had a successful kidney operation, a gift of life from his own daughter. Carper spoke out in a social media video on Friday about organ donation.
“Three years ago, I was in kidney failure. Things looked bleak for me and my family. Thanks to receiving a kidney transplant, I have a good life now. I received the gift of life,” he said.
“It is important for all of us to remember that we can continue a legacy of life by the give of life. please consider being an organ donor.”
Commissioner Carper encourages you to become an organ donor by telling his personal story of needing a transplant 3 years ago. More than 500 West Virginian’s need a life-saving organ transplant! You have the power to save lives! #WVDonorDay #8/1/21 @DonateLifeWV @COREDonateLife pic.twitter.com/oUyhsIEQCh
— Kanawha County (@kanawhaus) July 30, 2021
The list of West Virginia Donor Day partners includes the following hospital partners:
• Beckley Appalachian Regional Healthcare
• Broaddus Hospital
• Charleston Area Medical Center
• Davis Medical Center
• Grant Memorial Hospital
• Greenbrier Valley Medical Center
• Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital
• Montgomery General Hospital
• Mountain Health Network
• Princeton Community Hospital
• Summers County Appalachian Regional Healthcare
• Thomas Hospital
• Webster County Memorial Hospital
• WVU Medicine
Justice also acknowledged in his proclamation the giving community that already exists in West Virginia, demonstrated by the two consecutive record-breaking years for organ donation the Mountain State achieved in 2019 and 2020.
West Virginians can register as an organ donor by clicking HERE or visting their local DMV, or when purchasing a hunting and fishing license.