Are you an organ donor? Nearly 115,000 people waiting for transplants

Local News

One small box to check on your driver’s license could make a huge difference to the thousands waiting for an organ transplant.

Hardeeville resident Beverly Wright is alive today because someone did just that.

Fourteen years ago Wright went to the doctor to get some blood work done.

“The next morning the phone rang at 9 o’clock and that’s when she told me to get to the emergency room as quick as possible,” Wright recalled.

Wright was diagnosed with a rare blood disease called Polycythemia Vera.

“My bone marrow was producing too many red blood cells and caused me to have a blood clot in one of my veins that goes to my liver,” she explained.

The doctors told her the only way she would live is if she received a new liver.

“I was placed on the list on New Year’s Eve and about 6 hours later, they told me that the liver was on the way,” Wright said. “So many people are on the list forever, and I was just really blessed to get one as quickly as it was.”

There are nearly 115,000 people in the United States waiting for an organ. Right now, there are 1,000 people in South Carolina and 5,400 in Georgia waiting for an organ.

Hilton Head resident Judy Trew’s daughter, Heather, waited for five years.

“She had had a bite of an undercooked hamburger when she was seven and she almost died and lost her kidney function,” Trew said. “Every day, 21 (people) die while waiting, so she had had a miracle, and that miracle gave her all of her teenage years to accomplish so much. She wanted to help all those who were waiting to have a transplant.”

Trew’s daughter passed away from pancreatitis eight years later but lives on through the Heather Trew Foundation.

“We go to college campuses and we talk to students and we’ve registered over 19,000 students,” Trew said.

The foundation started Trew Friends, which helps inform, educate and encourage high school and college students on registering.

“As our final act, we have the potential to save eight lives and affect another 75 people, just by registering to be an organ donor,” Trew said.

It’s a small mark on your driver’s license that can save up to eight lives. That’s why Wright wears a “Recipient” badge as an employee at the Bluffton DMV. 

“We ask them would they like to be an organ donor and we can put it on their driver’s license,” Wright said.

But you don’t have to go to the DMV register.

Visit the Heather Trew Foundation website and click “sign up now” to become a donor. Also, keep in mind, you can donate organs like kidneys at any point in life. 

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