Four organ donation recipients spoke at Thursday's meeting of the Rotary Club, sharing their stories and urging audience members to consider giving the gift of life.
Virginia Wilson, Kathy Chadwick, Lawrence Ashley and Sherrell Gay all spoke about their experiences with serious illness and receiving an organ. The feeling is humbling, they all agreed, but has changed their lives.
"I look forward to every day now," said Ms. Wilson. "It's a celebration."
Ms. Wilson received a lung in early 2010 and was on the road to recovery quickly, meeting her personal goal of a complete recovery within a year of receiving the transplant.
"There's not anything I can't do," she said.
The decision to become an organ donor is a very personal one, Ms. Gay said, but it is one that can change many people's lives forever.
"Think about it," she said. "These people you see here are living miracles, and you can be a part of our stories."
According to LifeLink, an organ donor can help 60 or more people by donating kidneys, liver, heart, pancreas, lungs, intestines, bone, skin, heart valves and corneas.
Ms. Gay said that people who want to be organ donors should always let their families know about their wishes so that their families are not forced to make the decision themselves. LifeLink of Georgia has a policy that requires family permission before receiving someone as an organ donor, regardless of what the individual's driver's license states.
"If you communicate your wishes, you make it a lot easier for your family," Gay said.
More information about organ donation and LifeLink of Georgia can be found at www.lifelinkfound.org.