Celebrating the gift of organ donation

"You don't take your organs to heaven because heaven knows we need them here," said Gloria Mattakat in her address to the crowd just outside the Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center. It was a celebration of gratitude and hope to recognize community members such as Mattakat whose lives have been touched by organ donation.

The short ceremony on April 5 included a "Donate Life" flag-raising, stories from two community members, readings and prayers and bagpipe music. The ceremony was a collaboration between St. Mary's, the organ donation nonprofit LifeSource and the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank.

More than 118,000 Americans are waiting for the life-saving gift of an organ transplant and 22 die every day waiting, according to Katelyn Wilson, a registered nurse with LifeSource organ and tissue donation.

"That's what pushes us to work with our hospital partners to make sure people are aware of what organ donation can do," Wilson said. "Because in 2016, this hospital had six organ donors and 19 people benefited from those organ donations. And we've had two donors in 2017, saving nine lives." Continue reading

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