This Valentine’s Day was Organ Donor Day in Holyoke, meant to raise awareness and encourage people to become organ donors.
Twenty-two Americans die every day waiting for an organ transplant. 80 percent of the 113,000 Americans needing a transplant are waiting for a kidney.
People were encouraged to “Have a Heart,” and register to become organ donors. 22News was introduced to Richard Purcell, who donated his kidney to save the life of his chronically ill sister.
“All of my family was tested; I was the perfect match,” Purcell told 22News. “She got a kidney in 1994, and she lived 22 years with that kidney.”
Hamid Mahdavy of Wilbraham told 22News he received a heart transplant 12-years-ago after being told by his doctor he had just five years to live.
Glen Wiley of Granby’s grateful someone had a liver that saved his life. “I was afraid I wouldn’t see my son graduate from high school; he was a sophomore at the time,” Wiley explained. “Now he’s a sophomore in college. We go skiing together.”
In Massachusetts, all one has to do to become an organ and tissue donor is notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles and you will be designated as an organ or tissue donor on your driver’s license.