The Commercial Appeal | Ruth Ann Hale
On an early April morning, a crowd gathered around the flagpole at the main entrance of Methodist University Hospital to raise a "Donate Life" flag to pay tribute to all the selfless individuals and their families who donated organs so that others could live.
Transplant recipients, living donors, transplant physicians, hospital leadership and staff were on hand to celebrate National Donate Life Month which is in April. The celebration honors the generosity of organ, eye and tissue donors and their families and commemorates all transplant recipients in the United States.
Jo Lynn Chapman, who received her new liver at the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute last year, could barely keep her emotions in check when she spoke at the event.
"From the moment I set foot into the hospital, I was surrounded by confident, calm, professional faces who took me step by step on this amazing journey," she said. "The kindness of an absolute stranger released me from years of worry."
Dr. James Eason, medical director of the transplant program, operated in partnership with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, said there were currently 113,000 on the United Network of Organ Sharing waiting list and that last year only 28,000 transplants were performed in the United States.