It is often said that life can change in the blink of an eye. For this reason it is imperative we make the most of our time of Earth. Franciscan St. Anthony Health, observed National Donate Life Month with a Eucharistic celebration Monday.
The celebration also included speeches from family members of organ donors.
“My daughter Ashley Swart had an aneurism. She was beautiful and young, she was only 20. She passed away at this hospital and she was an organ donor,” Said Kelly Swart. “She was here one minute and gone the next, but I’m glad she donated her organs and gave somebody else the gift of life. We know for sure she saved four people’s lives. We met them, it was hard but it brought me some joy to know, that my daughter made a choice that helped so many people even though she’s no longer with us.”
Franciscan St. Anthony Health celebrates National Donate Life Month shortly after Easter because of the collation between the resurrection of Christ and the redemptive qualities associated with organ and tissue donation.
“Organ and tissue donation is my passion and I’m happy we celebrate this month with a twist,” said Carol Shuster, chief nursing officer at Franciscan St. Anthony Health. “It’s really nice because of the link between Christ being raised from the dead and the hope that organ and tissue donation gives to families, both giving and giving and receiving.”
After Mass, the day continued with a donor registration drive and informational station. Hospital visitors stopped by to talk to organ donation recipients, learn more about the process of organ and tissue donation and how to get involved.
“I received the gift of life six years ago from a donor. My liver was killing my kidneys,” said Megan George, an organ donation recipient. “It was expected my whole life that I would need organ donations. I was very sick, I was in and out of hospitals all the time. I would have up to 50 kidney stones at any given time, but because my donor I now have a much better quality of life. I still talk to my donors’ family, we consider ourselves a big family now. We write letters back and forth and it they’ve mentioned to me that it helps them to deal with the loss of their loved one. That’s why I’m here today because it changed my life and I want the same for someone else.”
Franciscan St. Anthony Health celebration teaches us all that we can still make an impact long after we are gone. Visit giftofhope.org for more information on Organ and Tissue donation as well as volunteer opportunities.