Advocates continue fighting for higher organ donation rates

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Joe Smydo

Only half of American adults are registered as organ donors, while the needs are growing

Julia Rendleman/Post-Gazette Malinda Sherid’s daughter Kim Cecchini, 16, died in a car accident in 2001. Ms. Sherid agreed to donate her daughter’s organs and now volunteers for the Center for Organ Recovery and Education in O’Hara.

When the clerk at the driver’s license center gave Kim Cecchini the option of registering as an organ donor, the Greensburg Salem High School sophomore turned to her mother for advice.

Malinda Sherid already had signed up, so Kim, who turned 16 that day in November 2000, decided that she would register, too. Their conversation lasted barely a minute, but the reverberations continue.

“Thank you for having the courage and compassion for sharing the gift of life,” wrote the liver recipient.

“My life has changed for the better in ways too numerous to count,” wrote a kidney recipient.

“I want you to know what you have done is incredible,” said the letter from the cornea recipient.

■ ■ ■

With more than 122,000 Americans on transplant waiting lists and only about 18,000 transplant operations during the first half of the year, the transplant community urgently wants to register more donors. Continue reading