Local Man Advocates Organ Donation, While Waiting For Own Heart
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – We’re on a project to follow a local man who is going through the organ transplant process.
He needs a new heart, but so far the call hasn’t come.
Brenda Waters introduced Moses Hart last month. Hart says he doesn’t have time to worry about when the call will come – he just knows it will happen.
And while he waits, he is paying it forward by volunteering at the place that recruits and educates potential donor for him and others.
Hart has been waiting for a new heart for two years. His own heart just doesn’t pump enough blood, so until he gets the call, a ventricular assist device keeps him alive.
It’s an artificial heart attached to his own heart and it does all the work. He carries the pump and power source for the device outside his body in a fanny pack.
When Hart isn’t visiting his doctor or exercising, he’s volunteering at the center for organ recovery and education, or CORE. He has been doing that for two years.
Susan Stuart, the President and CEO of CORE, calls Hart a spokesperson advocating the need for people to register as organ donors.
“Moses tells his story,” she said. “He puts a face on the great need for making a pledge for life. It’s people like Moses sitting here waiting for that call.”
Hart, now 51, says he has been a registered organ donor since getting his license as a teenager. His story is two-fold. African Americans have the most need for donor organs, but at the least likely to designate themselves as donors.
Approximately 120,000 people are waiting for organs – 56 percent of them are African Americans.
“One person, if they donate their organs, tissue or corneas, can help up to 50 people,” Stuart said. “In Pennsylvania, it’s about 44 to 45 percent that have designated themselves as donors and that isn’t near enough – 18 people die every day waiting for an organ.”
Hart says the toughest part about the wait is when the phone rings. He never knows if it’s family or friends or the hospital. But the thing about Hart, he doesn’t give up, he knows that call is coming.
“I have an ‘I will’ list to do,” he said. “I will do the Warriors Race, I will travel someplace with my wife, I will take a cruise with my wife, I got things to do. People ask about a bucket list. No, a bucket list means you are going to end. ‘I will’ list means you are going forward and keep going. I won’t quit.”
Brenda Waters is challenging everyone — including other African Americans, to register as organ donors. You can make the commitment to give the gift of life by registering at a PennDOT photo license center or do it at donatelife.org.