by Sierra Beckwith
Secretary of State Jesse White recently made an appearance at Lewis and Clark to spread awareness about organ and tissue donation.
“The objectives of this gathering were to try and give the public a depth of information on organ and tissue donor registry, and also to inspire and motivate the public toward registering themselves to be an organ and tissue donor,” said Jared Hennings, Student Activities coordinator.
April is National Donate Life Month, so White takes this time of the year to talk to different communities to enlighten them on the importance of being an organ and tissue donor.
“In Illinois, we have 5.5 million people signed up as organ donors. We have 5,000 people signed up on the list as we speak, and each year, hundreds die because organs do not arrive in time,” White said.
White, an Alton native, became involved with the organ and tissue donor program long before he became the secretary of state, through his brother’s and sister’s personal experiences with the program. He shared with the group the story of his sister’s second chance at life thanks to the program.
During the campaign, two local women also spoke on their personal experiences with donations.
“Donating your organs provides a second chance for some people, or an improvement for their living,” said Music major, Austin Shipley, upon hearing their stories.
Patty Kallal, of Jerseyville, spoke of her husband’s organ donations saving and improving multiple people’s lives. Only months before he was killed in a car accident, the couple discussed him wanting to donate his organs if anything were to happen to him, because he wouldn’t need them when he was gone. A few months later, his misfortune led to the gift of sight for two previously blind individuals.
“You may not have a need today; you may not have a need tomorrow, but sometime in your lifetime, you or someone you know may have a need for an organ,” White said.
For further information on registering as an organ and tissue donor, visit lifegoeson.com.