March 03, 2021
Every April, a new flag with a white background and a hint of green is added to the flag pole in front of Cookeville Regional Medical Center’s north entrance.
It is the Donate Life flag, symbolizing April as National Donor Organ Awareness Month.
“Becoming an organ donor is a decision that can impact so many lives,” said Angela Craig, ICU nurse clinical specialist. “And it is so easy to do.”
Donate Life America and Cookeville Regional Medical Center celebrates National Donate Life Month, an observance to focus national attention on the need and importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. National Donate Life Month is about the importance of registering your decision to be a donor, honoring deceased and living donors and recognizing that the generosity of donors makes saving lives through transplantation possible.
CRMC CEO Paul Korth said registering to be an organ donor is the ultimate life-saving sacrifice.
“So many people are on waiting lists for organs right now,” he said. “Anyone can leave a legacy through becoming an organ donor.”
More than 100,000 people across the country are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, with more than 3,000 of those in Tennessee. Thousands more are waiting for life-saving cornea and tissue transplants.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people in dire need of organs who die every day, whether from heart, lung, kidney or liver failure,” said David Phillips, CRMC surgery director. “There are children whose life expectancy isn’t more than 10 or 15 years with (severe cystic fibrosis) and there’s an opportunity through lung transplants they can live a normal and healthy life.”
The usual organs – heart, kidneys and lungs being the most known — are not the only things that can be donated.
“There’s tissue donation as well,” Phillips said. “There are a lot of people involved in motor vehicle accidents who have terrible injuries…and instead of amputating, we have an opportunity to rebuild those structures.”
With tissue donation, many more people can be impacted.
“In our operating room, we use…bone tissue from what people have donated in a lot of our surgeries,” Phillips said. “You could touch the lives of over 200-300 different people.”
For more information, visit https://www.donatelife.net/.
To register your decision to save and heal lives, visit DonateLifeTN.org. To learn more about organ, eye, tissue and living donation, visit DonateLIfeTN.org
* Living donation is not included in a donor registration.
Data from the Donate Life America Registry Overview Report and the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) as March 2, 2021.