PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Thousands of lives have been saved by organ donors, but 118,000 Americans remain on the list for hearts, kidneys, and other organs.
Organ recipients and families of donors gathered at Allegheny General Hospital Monday morning to raise the flag of CORE, the Center for Organ Recovery and Education.
“Our central purpose at CORE is very simple,” CEO Susan Stuart told the crowd. “To celebrate the gift of life with organ, tissue and cornea donation.”
Little Bailey and Tobias Zippay were celebrated guests because of their recent viral video with the plea: “Our mommy needs a kidney.” At the podium, their mother, Diana Zippay, said the response has given her a measure of hope.
“We all try to remain stoic, wearing our imaginary capes, so that we can hold it together for those we love,” she said.
Eric Daughenbaugh says he was kept alive with a heart pump, until he received a transplant four months ago from someone he has never met.
“I feel great now, and forever thankful for the hospital staff and the donors and their families,” he said.
The Wyant family’s daughter, Mackenzie, was the victim of a drunk driver.
“She knew that she was born to change someone’s life,” Tiffany Ann Rhode-Wyant, Mackenzie’s mom, said.
Mackenzie would be a multiple organ donor.
“Kenzie wasn’t born to change someone’s life. She was born and given the ability to change many people’s lives, and to truly survive forever in all of you,” said Rhode-Wyant.
Donor families often create patches, in honor of a love one lost. The patches are sewn onto one of many green CORE blankets. Each patch symbolizes another life saved.