Organ Donors Honored on 'Donate Life Day'

Updated: 04/11/2014 10:45 PM
Created: 04/11/2014 9:30 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- Since 2010 there has been a strong push to get more of you to become organ donors. Still, more than 120,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant nationwide.

Today, a ceremony was held in Rochester, to honor those who have gave the gift of life.

"I encourage people of every age and background to learn the facts about organ and tissue donation,” said Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede.

A proclamation from Mayor Brede recognizing today as "Donate Life Day" in Rochester and the honor guard raising an honorary flag. All part of a ceremony at The Gift of Life Transplant House, a time to honor those who have given their life for those awaiting transplants.

"It's nice to know there's a little part of her out there,” said Maresa Murray and Terry Bakalyar, The parents of Caroline Bakalyar, a Winona State University student who died from a blood clot this past year, feel comfort in knowing their daughter donated to those in need.

"It makes your loss, I don't want to say easier, but year you can take that and be appreciative that another life was saved because of it,” said Murray.

Others at the ceremony today, are recipients. "I'm fortunate that I’m here,” said Kevin Dotson. He had a double lung transplant. To this day, the thought of a donor saving his life leaves him speechless.

"I can't go there, almost two years, I still can't go there. To think about what they gave up,” said Dotson.

Every ten minutes, another name like Kevin’s is added to the national waiting list. Just at Mayo Clinic, more than 3,000 patients are waiting for transplants.

"I really think the awareness has increased over this last year especially,” said Kathy Dudley with LifeSource.

April is national Donate Life Month. A time to thank those who have donated to give others hope.

"For me, it's been comforting just knowing she was able to prolong a life, to help someone to continue on,” said Murray.

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