Thursday, August 18, 2011
Revere officials promote organ donation at RMV
After witnessing her father’s battle with heart disease, followed by his struggle to find an organ donor, Cecala, 22, dove head first into raising awareness about the importance of taking a tragedy and turning it into a story of survival for others in need.
“When my father went into congestive heart failure, it became a reality that he needed a heart transplant,” Cecala said. “And when I started researching the statistics on donors, I was shocked. There’s a lot of information out there that’s false. People think a doctor or EMT will not try to help save their lives if they’re an organ donor and that’s just not true.”
In an effort to spread her message, Cecala founded the nonprofit Take Heart, where all proceeds go toward furthering the organization and other corporations such as The New England Organ Bank and Donate Life.
“I try to give information so that people can make an informed decision because their actions can possibly save lives,” Cecala said. “My father received the heart of a 24-year-old girl. Her decision to be a donor changed all of my family’s lives.”
On Wednesday, Cecala joined Revere Mayor Thomas Ambrosino, Revere Police Chief Terrence Reardon, advocates of Donate Life, and various other officials at the Revere Registry of Motor Vehicles to support Registrar Rachel Kaprielian and the New England Organ Bank for their ongoing effort to promote the selfless act of organ donation.
According to Donate Life, the lives of over 240 New Englanders were saved last year because of people who opted to register as an organ donor on their driver’s license. There are currently more than 111,000 Americans, including approximately 2,900 in Massachusetts, who are waiting for an organ transplant that may not come in time.
“This is a subject people need more awareness on,” Kaprielian said. “One family’s worst day is another family’s best day. It takes the sting out of one family’s loss, because they are truly giving the gift of life.”
Kaprielian, a long-time supporter of organ donation and a donor herself, continues to insist that everyone who renews their license at the RMV be asked if they would like to register to become a donor. Currently, more than 2 million RMV customers have opted to enroll.
As a recipient of a transplant four years ago, Michael Slama attended Wednesday’s event to express his gratitude toward the kindness of a stranger who now lives on in his heart.
“I’m alive because of an organ donation,” Slama said. “I received the heart of a 27-year-old man who passed away when I was in the hospital on my 31st wedding anniversary. He was 16 when he decided to become an organ donor and I’m here to say it works.”
Those interested in becoming a donor can visit the RMV website, www.massdot.state.ma.us/rmv orwww.donatelifenewengland.org