CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – The Clay Center was filled with people Sunday afternoon, all grieving the loss of someone they love – but feeling comforted by what they left behind.
The Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) celebrated donors across the state with a special ceremony, inviting family members of those who recently passed away.
“When you lose a loved one, you feel so hopeless,” Susan Stuart, CEO of CORE, said. “Through organ and tissue donations, we’re able to give hope to those families. It helps them through their grief process.”
Sherry Lewis lost her daughter Leslie a year ago and says her liver donation helped two people survive.
“We couldn’t say no,” Lewis said. “Because Leslie herself was the recipient of a kidney.”
Donors from previous years were displayed on patchwork quilts, and family members of this year’s honorees were invited to add their loved ones.
Karen Cox, whose mother was an organ donor, was one of them.
“My mother was a giving person," Cox said. "She was devoted to her family and friends. Her whole life was about doing something for other people. So this was her final act of giving.”
CORE staff members say more than 100,000 people across the state are in need of organ transplants and 18 of them lose their lives waiting everyday. They say a single donor can mean the difference between life and death for those people.