ILLINOIS (WCIA) — 4,700 people in the state are waiting for donor organs or tissue.
One Central Illinois man is speaking up about the importance of being a registered donor. Mark Weiler’s 25-year old daughter died after an ATV accident in 2013.
She was an organ donor and able to save at least three lives. Now, her father works to spread the importance of organ donation.
“It’s a very rare and powerful gift. In a moment where it’s hard to find something good, it is an opportunity to do something good.”
And, that “something” can help save lives. April is National Donate Life Month and some are taking the time to spread the word about its importance.
“It’s so much bigger than life when someone makes that decision.”
Weiler lost his daughter, Andrea, six years ago. Her death saved lives because she was an organ donor. Since then, Weiler has worked to help others follow the example Andrea and many others have set.
“The fact that one organ donor can save the life of 25 people in one way or another.”
Jim McFarlin knows what it’s like to be in dire need. He says the day he got his kidney transplant was like a second birthday for him.
“I can say from personal experience, it changes lives.”
McFarlin says someone did it for him so he wants to do the same.
“I can’t wait, well, that’s not true. I can wait, but when it happens, yes, I have my little red, Illinois sticker on my license and I cannot tell you how eager I am for someone else to have this, to share this.”
Carle isn’t a transplant hospital, but it does remove organs. Before a patient is taken to surgery, Carle employees line the hallway to honor the donor and his or her family. They call it an Honor Walk.
4,700 people in Illinois are waiting for organs every year. More than 300 die waiting for a transplant. 80% are waiting for kidneys and 12% are waiting for livers.
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