By Paul Martino

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A celebration took place Sunday for the people who gave and the people who got the gift of life.

Organ donors and recipients were honored by the center for organ recovery and education.

There were many stories of hope and joy.

It’s called CORE, and their headquarters are in O’Hara Township.

In just one year, they made a huge difference for thousands of people.

“We were able to help over 49,000 people receive a second chance at life, through tissue and over 1,000 people received the gift of sight,” said Susan Stuart with the Center for Organ Recovery and Education.

Hundreds and hundreds celebrated those gifts, Sunday. And they heard some amazing stories.

Like the McKain family, whose baby, Jamieson, would have died without a heart transplant.

“It’s been almost two years since he’s had his new heart,” mother Danielle McKain said. “And he’s thriving, and he’s growing and we’re doing really well.”

Even Jamieson’s little brother had a story to tell, brought smiles to the crowd.

“Can you please thank all the people who gave James his heart?” Colin McKain asked. “If you helped my brother, please stand up.”

And then, there was Ron Gooden, who would have missed a lot, if it weren’t for his transplant.

“Married my wonderful wife, last June,” Gooden said. “Last spring, my son graduated from Slippery Rock University. In December, a daughter graduated from IUP.”

They launched balloons to the heavens to remember and thank the people who left behind their organs, to give the gift of life to thousands and thousands of grateful recipients.

More Local News

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Get The All New CBS Local App
KDKA Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE