Chicago Heights, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Prairie State College accounts payable clerk Sarah Ridder knows firsthand the importance of organ donation. She is the recipient of a double lung transplant.
“A complete stranger gave me the gift of life,” said Ridder. “I’m so blessed because someone was so selfless.”
Ridder knows if her donor did not make the decision to be one, she wouldn’t be alive today.
“Even though I don’t know who gave me my lungs, her family connects with me through the hospital to find out how I’m doing,” said Ridder. “It’s a privilege they still think of me four years later.”
Ridder is not the only PSC staff member touched by the generosity of organ donation. Loretta Kucharczyk, coordinator of intentional advising services, had a friend step up to donate a kidney to her husband when he needed one.
Kucharczyk met her friend when they were students at South Suburban College. Little did she know that 20 years later this person would play such a significant role in her life.
“When I couldn’t donate a kidney to my husband, she immediately volunteered,” said Kucharczyk. “Living donors are special people.”
Nearly half of all the transplants in the United States are from living donors. Kidneys are the most common living donor transplant because the body can function normally with just one.
Kucharczyk’s husband recently celebrated nine years with his new kidney.
Both Ridder and Kucharczyk told their personal stories at the college’s recent Organ/Tissue Donor Awareness Day. Organized by Ridder, and sponsored by Health Promotion Programming and the Campus Programming Board, the event aimed to
increase understanding of organ donation and to fundraise for Team Illinois in the U.S. Olympic Transplant games. In addition, staff and students were given the opportunity to register to become blood and bone marrow donors.
The college had 28 people sign up for the bone marrow registry, 25 people become organ/tissue donors, and 31 donate blood.
Approximately $700 was raised from raffles, making PSC a sponsor of Team Illinois for the upcoming Transplant Games in Madison, Wisc.
“Becoming an organ/tissue donor saves lives,” said Ridder. “Someone saved mine. I encourage as many people possible to sign up.”
For more information about organ and tissue donation, visit organdonor.gov.