Gov. Kemp honors organ donors during ‘National Donate Life Month’

Only about 54% of Georgians are registered organ donors.
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 11:33 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - April is National Donate Life Month and organ donations across Georgia are on the rise.

According to the nonprofit LifeLink, Georgia saw a 15.2% increase in organ donors between 2021 and 2022. That increase translates into about 1,200 lives saved.

Governor Brian Kemp issued a proclamation honoring organ donors for April and encouraging other Georgians to add their names to the donor registry. That proclamation states that, on average, 17 people die per day while waiting for an organ transplant.

Metro Atlanta woman Susan Frye is a living organ donor that gave her cousin a kidney in 2020.

“My cousin had had a lung transplant about 20 plus years earlier and after 20 years of immunosuppressant drugs, she was in need of a kidney,” Frye said.

After many discussions with her family, Susan added her name to the living donor list for her cousin Stephanie East of Columbus, Georgia. She was a match. The pair underwent surgery at UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina, and it was a success.

“I just played a small role in helping my cousin get off dialysis and live her best life and I would do it again tomorrow,” Frye said.

According to LifeLink, a deceased donor can help save up to eight lives by providing essential organs like a heart, liver, or lungs and a single tissue donor can save more than 70 individuals.

But only about 54% of Georgians are registered organ donors. A number that both LifeLink and people like Susan Frye are hoping to increase.

“The people that do raise their hand to be considered to be a living donor can really change the trajectory of somebody’s life. I’ve seen it. I’ve witnessed it. And I’m the beneficiary of it too, because I get more time with my cousin off dialysis,” Frye said. “I would do it again tomorrow and I think if you would just tell your viewers if they chose to be a living donor, they will not regret it. It will add to their life. It will not take away from their life!”

If you would like to register to become an organ donor, click HERE.