Number of Ga., SC organ donors soar with Facebook announcement

By: Katie Beasley Email
By: Katie Beasley Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, May 2, 2012

KEYSVILLE, Ga. -- More than 114,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for an organ donation. In the last two days, though, more than 6,000 new donors have signed up to help the fight.

It's all a part of Facebook's new push to get you thinking about organ donation.

Since Tuesday morning, more than 500 people in Georgia have signed up to be organ donors. It's a 5,000 percent increase and one that will likely save hundreds of lives.

"This is my donor, Ty Harrison Bray," showed off Sherryll Gay.

It's been nearly 10 years since Gay received the gift of life.

"The doctors here had said they had done all they could do for me and my only chance at living would be to go for a heart transplant," Gay said.

But now, that heart is slowly failing. Gay is back on the donor list and has been waiting for 10 months, praying for a heart that will once again save her life.

"It's very hard, you know how impatient people get just at a signal light for it to turn green or in the grocery store line? Well imagine waiting for a phone call that's going to give you your life back," she said.

And thanks to a renewed push by the world's most popular website, organ donation is in the spotlight. Facebook announced this week that you can now show off your organ donation status. In the first day alone, well more than 6,000 people in the U.S. changed their status and have chosen to be donors, with the website walking them through step by step.

"I shouted," Gay said, describing when she heard the news. "If it just plants the seed for one person, it would be a good thing, but to know how many people across the whole United States it's already touched -- it's just a really great thing."

"I got so excited, because I knew the potential that this had to reach so many people," says Tracy Ide, with Life Link Foundation, a nonprofit organization assisting organ donors and recipients.

And Ide would know -- her mother, Gay, is sitting next to her.

"It's not just a job for me, it's a passion. I get to go to work every day knowing I made a difference in somebody's life," she said.

Make a difference for strangers and make a difference for her own mother.

"We try to spend a lot of time together and make good memories while we can because we don't know if there's going to be an organ available for me in time," Gay said. "We know how precious life is and we know how precious the gift of life is."

One donor can save up to 60 lives. Your family can give permission for you to become a donor, but signing up yourself is the best way to make sure you leave that legacy behind.

If you're interested in becoming a donor, you can go here.


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