News 12 This Morning at 6 o'clock // Monday, July 10, 2012
AUGUSTA, GA -- Nearly 5000 patients waited for an organ transplant in Georgia and South Carolina, last year. The procurement center says every day, 18 people die waiting to hear they have a match, and every 11 minutes one new name will be added onto a waiting list. One person on one of those lists is encouraging more people to register to become organ donors.
Walk by Mike Ludwikowski these days and you'd barely recognize him from his pictures a couple of years ago. Active at work, covering the news in the community, life is now much different for him. Ludwikowski, who needs a liver transplant said, "It's terrible not getting up everyday, not going through your routine or going to work."
A year ago, doctors told him his liver was failing. "It's a progressive disease. Eventually, the only cure would be a transplant."
Now his name sits on a waiting list. It's been on that list for the past two months. "It's tough sometimes because there are days you really don't feel that well. You know you're that close, yet your far away because there is no organ that matches your needs," he explained.
Tracy Ide, with LifeLink in Augusta said, "Right now in the state of Georgia we have over 4.2 million people registered; our population is over 9.8 million."
Ide wants to increase that number. "This is the biggest legacy you can leave behind to know after you're gone someone else is living," Ide added.
Back in May, Facebook made it easier to become a donor no matter what state you live in. Ide said, "It helped tremendously especially those first couple of weeks."
According to LifeLink, on average, 100 people sign up online everyday. Since Facebook added their easy step by step guide that number jumped to more than 1000 people signing up in the month of May. However, since its initial launch the number of registrations dropped back down in June to 84 in Georgia.
"People are worried that if they put it on their license doctors aren't saving their lives; far from the truth," Ide said.
Myth number two that keeps some from becoming a donor: "People worry they can't have an open casket funeral. That's big in the south, it doesn't disfigure your body," Ide said.
"It's frustrating because you're running into heart, kidney, lung, myself with liver, people who are waiting and they are good people," said Ludwikowski.
He doesn't want something like paper work to stop you from giving the gift of life, not only to him, but it could help up to 60 people.
If you are interested in signing up online, you can follow Facebook prompts through the link below.