DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Thousands of people are waiting on organs they need to live. An area hospital is helping find matches. April is National Donate Life Month. St. Mary’s Hospital is helping people find out what they can do to help save someone’s life long after they’ve passed away. When you’re sick, St. Mary’s Hospital volunteers, like Michael Gremo, give time and energy to make you feel better. “I came here and volunteered just to give back something.”
But, about two years ago, Gremo was the one on the receiving end. He had a cancerous tumor and needed a liver transplant. He was 73-years old. “Honestly, I kind of left it in God’s hands. I said, ‘Either cure me or let me die in my sleep.'” Gremo found a donor but the Department of Health and Human Services says there are about 113,000 people around the country waiting to get the organs they need. “Once we pass, we don’t need our organs any more, but we can save someone’s life with our organs.” St. Mary’s Hospital had a drive to encourage people to become donors.
Names were put on the national registry. Those names can help give life to others. “It’s just such a blessing when someone is a match so they can get their organ and go on with a really wonderful life.” Gremo knows what that’s like firsthand. “I figured, why not help other people like I’ve been helped?” The city of Decatur and Macon County approved proclamations recognizing April as Donor Month. A “Life Goes On” flag is being flown in front of the law enforcement center downtown.