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CORE, Families Honor Donor Families and Celebrate the Gift of Life

– Donor families and recipients from across West Virginia attend A Special Place ceremony–

CHARLESTON, W.VA., Sept. 19, 2016 – For every celebration that follows the life- transforming gift of organ, tissue or cornea donation, a family mourns the loss of a loved one. Yet, their loved ones’ legacy lives on as a result of a life-affirming decision to register as a donor.

The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) honored donor families and remembered those who gave the selfless gift of life during A Special Place ceremony, held Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Clay Center in Charleston, West Virginia.

“A Special Place ceremony reminds us that when these people made the decision to become an organ, tissue and cornea donor, they also became important to so many others,” said Susan Stuart, President and CEO, CORE. “They became a moment of hope for a family. They became a lifeline for a recipient. They became a permanent special place in this world, a place we will always honor.”

Now in its fifth year, the event was held for the families of organ, tissue and cornea donors who have saved or improved lives of transplant patients in the past year. In West Virginia last year, there were 51 organ donors, 212 tissue donors and 208 cornea donors. The 133 transplants performed in West Virginia enabled many to receive a second chance for a better life.

“Many lives were saved, enhanced and transformed because of these donors. Their legacy of giving advances our mission to end the wait for people in desperate need of a life-saving transplant,” Stuart said.

Prior to the ceremony, family members pinned quilt squares in remembrance of their loved ones.

Guest speakers included Joe Letnaunchyn, member, Board of Directors, CORE; and Dr. Joseph B. Africa, renal transplant surgeon from Charleston Area Medical Center. Ronald L. Jones, kidney recipient from West Virginia; and Travis Foster, father of Maren Foster, a liver recipient from West Virginia, also shared their touching stories. In addition, the ceremony featured musical performances by bagpiper Steve Hendricks, harpist Chance Messer and Brandon Sweeney, all West Virginians. A butterfly release honoring donors closed the ceremony.

More than 121,000 people nationwide are waiting for a life-saving transplant. Each donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and improve the lives of nearly 50 people through cornea and tissue donation.

The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) honored donor families and remembered those who gave the selfless gift of life during A Special Place ceremony, held Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Clay Center in Charleston, West Virginia. Pictured from left to right: Maren Foster, liver recipient, of Barboursville, West Virginia; Ronald L. Jones, kidney recipient, of West Virginia; a butterfly release honoring donors closed the ceremony.

About CORE
The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is one of 58 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the United States. CORE works closely with donor families and designated health care professionals to coordinate the surgical recovery of organs, tissues and corneas for transplantation. CORE also facilitates the computerized matching of donated organs and placement of corneas. With headquarters in Pittsburgh and an office in Charleston, West Virginia, CORE oversees a region that encompasses 155 hospitals and almost six million people throughout western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Chemung County, NY. For more information, visit www.core.org or call 1-800-DONORS-7.

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