WLWT – Families that have given the gift of life received a big thank you on Thursday

11/19/15 CINCINNATI WLWT News—
Families that have given the gift of life received a big thank you on Thursday.

LifeCenter brought together the families of organ donors with recipients to help share stories and spread the word about the need for organ donation.

The 13th annual Community Breakfast was held Thursday at the Cintas Center, a celebration of those who have made the decision to give life.

There is a tremendous need, both nationwide and in the Cincinnati area, for organ donors, officials said.

“Right now, we’ve got more than 600 people in the area who are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants,” Andi O’Malley of LifeCenter said. “Right now there are 120,000 people across the country waiting for a lifesaving organ donation, and every day 21 people die when that donation does not come through in time.”

One donor story shared at the event came from Donerik Black. He became a living donor in 2006, helping save the life of his father, who needed a kidney. Black said he had never thought about being an organ donor before that, but called the decision a “no-brainer.”

Years later, Black also became a recipient. Black found himself in need of a new heart after complications from a heart valve procedure. Luckily, Black said the gift of life was returned. Early this year, he received a donor heart.

“(The donation came) one day before my 45th birthday, so it was the absolute best birthday gift anyone could ever get,” Black said.

The breakfast, held every year just before Thanksgiving, is a chance for people like Donerik to thank donor families and people who commit to become donors.

“I’m so thankful for my donor family and I don’t just live for me now. I live for the memory of the individual who decided on their worst day that they wanted to help someone,” Black said.

Individuals can register to become organ donors when renewing their driver’s licenses or state ID cards. Prospective donors can also change their designations online.

See more and video coverage at: http://www.wlwt.com/news/families-of-organ-donors-recipients-unite-in-cincinnati/36544496