April is National Donate Life Month and the Mid-South Transplant Foundation is using the opportunity to bring awareness to the 19 counties it serves.
Coahoma County is one of the areas Mid-South Transplant Foundation, a federally designated organ procurement organization, serves. Manager of Community Outreach, Randa Lipman, used National Donate Life Month as an opportunity to build bridges with the community.
Lipman spoke about the importance of being an organ donor at the Clarksdale Board of Mayor and Commissioners meeting Monday.
“It gives an opportunity to raise even more awareness for the need for the registered donors,” she said.
Lipman said Mid-South Transplant Foundation works closely with community hospitals and Department of Public Safety offices to ask citizens of different communities if they want to be organ or tissue donors. She added, as of the past year, an individual may register to be a donor when getting a hunting or fishing license online in Mississippi.
“We’re all about saving lives and we know that there’s more than 100,000 on the current waiting list nationally,” Lipman said. “And, of all that, 4,000 live in the mid-south.”
Lipman said 83% of the organs donated are kidneys.
“The greatest need is for kidneys and that’s because of the high degree of the high blood pressure and diabetes,” she said.
Lipman said one individual may donate as many as eight solid organs and enhance another 75 people with tissue donations and give sight to two people. She also said organ and tissue donors may request who the recipients are.
“Direct donation is possible,” she said. “You can request that if something happens to you and, if it’s a match, you want it to go to your brother, sister or whoever.”
Lipman said Mid-South Transplant Foundation would do everything possible to honor the request.
“It’s all about saving lives,” she said. “It’s another way for your loved one’s legacy to go on.”
As an example, Lipman said one organ recipient, Jada Chrtistian, received a heart when she was one month old. Lipman said Christian started kindergarten this year and is doing well. Christian’s mother, Jasmine Bradshaw, received a kidney a year ago.
Lipman talked about some of the ways Mid-South Transplant Foundation would be raising awareness throughout April.
“It’s an opportunity for heightened awareness across the country,” she said. “I would say it gives opportunities to go to more speaking engagements and awareness events.”
Lipman said this coming Friday is Blue and Green Day in the mid-south.
All area businesses and local citizens are being asked to light up buildings in blue and green, wear blue and green and post pictures, put signs in their yards, light up fountains and parking garages in blue green or show the colors blue and green in some other way,
“Everybody can celebrate in some way,” Lipman said.
Anyone with blue and green photos on Friday may enter them in the Mid-South Transplant Foundation contest at https://midsouthtransplant.org/blue-green-day/photo-contest/.
Lipman also said April 23 to 29 is Pediatric Transplant Week. She added it would be an opportunity to work with the Pediatric Transplant Center at the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
In an effort to raise awareness, Lipman said Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital will be lit blue and green from April 23 to 29 and there will be several activities with the children.
After Lipman spoke, the board had the opportunity to make comments.
Mayor Chuck Espy remarked he was already wearing blue and green at Monday’s meeting.
“I personally know someone who just recently donated a kidney to a brother,” said Ward 2 Commissioner Ken Murphey.
“I know first hand what a great organization you have and the needs of your organization.”
Murphey thanked Mid-South Transplant Foundation for all it does.
Anyone can register to be an organ donor at www.registerme.org and it goes to the national registry. Those with questions may contact the Mid-South Transplant Foundation at (901) 328-4438.