By Jennifer C. Yates
|Bob Dickson and James McQuiston at the UPMC Donate Life Month flag-raising ceremony.|
James McQuiston had dreamed of traveling the world, but a complicated
medical condition made that impossible. That is, until he got the call that changed
his life: An organ donor match had been found for him.
On Aug. 8, 2004, McQuiston received a liver transplant
at UPMC, and in the years that have followed has traveled to Ireland, Hawaii
and even Australia. On Tuesday, he returned to the hospital to help kick off Donate Life Month by sharing his story at the
annual flag-raising at UPMC Montefiore.
Every year, transplant centers across the country, transplant advocacy groups and others help to celebrate organ donors, their
recipients and organ donor families. The hope is to raise awareness of organ
transplant and encourage more people to sign up to become donors.
“Transplant is something that we all believe in,” John Innocenti,
president of UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, told the crowd gathered at UPMC
Montefiore’s LHAS Auditorium. “We live and breathe transplant here.”
More than 117,000 people in the U.S. are currently waiting for organ
transplants, and 18 people a day will die before a matching donor organ becomes available,
said Kurt Shutterly, CORE’s
chief operating officer. He encouraged everyone to register to be an organ donor.
For Bob Dickson, the reality of transplant has hit home more than once.
Years ago, he donated a kidney to his brother. Then in
2010, his son, Scott Lang, the men’s basketball coach at LaRoche College,
suddenly passed away. His tissue and corneas were donated to many,
including a librarian who lost her eyesight and can now see to read to her
grandchildren, thanks to Lang.
“He was a giving man,” a teary Dickson told the audience. “He continually
gave of himself and it was just another manifestation of the man he was.”
Has transplant touched your life? If so, tell us about it in the
comments below. Also, click here
for more information about other Donate Life Month events planned at UPMC or
information on how to become an organ donor.