Organ donor’s relative urges other Ohioans to help save lives, Dayton, Ohio
By Cornelius Frolik, Staff Writer | Dayton Daily News
VANDALIA — There was a silver lining to Rebekah Meade’s tragic death.
As an organ donor, Meade saved the life of a woman who was dying from liver disease, and her kidneys were transplanted into two people.
“If the woman had not received the liver within 60 days of when she did, she would have probably been taken off the donor list, because she would have been too sick for the transplant,” said Mary Laughter, Meade’s sister-in-law.
Meade, 44, of Tipp City, was killed by an elderly driver in Harrison Twp. in October. She was riding her bicycle when the driver struck her.
The pain of her death still brings tears to the eyes of her family members and friends.
But Laughter said Meade would be pleased that her organs helped other families avoid tragedy.
With this in mind, Laughter helped bring the Life Connection of Ohio’s Donate Life Education Vehicle on Wednesday to the parking lot of her employer, Hock’s Pharmacy and Medical Supply, at 732 W. National Road in Vandalia.
The mobile unit is an outreach and educational tool used to teach the public about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donations.
Although about 90 percent of Ohioans support organ donation, only about 53 percent of residents are registered as donors, said Cathi Arends, director of community relations for Life Connection of Ohio.
She said lack of information about the need for transplants, and misperceptions about the process explain the discrepancy. About 3,000 people in Ohio are on the waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant. One donor can save eight lives, Arends said.
People who are old or sick can still provide tissue and organs that will save lives, she said.
“Rebekah saved lives — what a legacy to leave behind,” Arends said.
About 95 percent of organ donors register at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, but people also can do it online.
After visiting the mobile unit, Dominic Bartone, president of Hock’s, said his questions and concerns about organ donation were addressed and answered.
“I am not currently an organ donor, but I think my mind’s been changed,” he said. “One of biggest concerns were they would take the organs prematurely ... (but I learned) you’d have to be brain dead.”