Importance of organ and tissue donation recognized during annual community breakfast

LifeCenter hosts 15th Annual Community Breakfast

Natalie Clark, WLWT5

Nearly 600 people held an emotional celebration Tuesday at the LifeCenter 15th Annual Community Breakfast.

For many in attendance, an organ or tissue donation was a life-changing, or life-saving decision.

The program’s featured speaker was Jason Schechterle.

Schechterle, a retired Phoenix, Arizona police officer credits tissue donation for saving his life nearly 16 years ago.

“I was in a severe line of duty accident where my car burst into flames and I was trapped inside, and I suffered burn injuries, fourth-degree injuries, as you can see, to my neck, head and face, and other parts of my body, just survivable,” Schechterle said.

After 50 surgeries, Schechterle lost several fingers, overcame blindness and endured a painful recovery.

He gives thanks to donors.

“I had incredible people, you know, firefighters, and doctors,” he said. “But, without the donations of allograft skin, without donor families, and becoming a tissue recipient, I don’t survive.”

Schechterle shared his story at the community breakfast, while many others also shared theirs.

Donor families were honored, and medical teams were thanked for the work they do.

“There’s a lot of hope in this world, and we’re just grateful to be able to share it in this room today as we’re getting ready to go into Thanksgiving. It’s just a really exciting time. We just hope more people are motivated to say ‘yes’ to being organ and tissue donors,” LifeCenter community relations director Andi O’Malley said.

By saying “yes” when you renew your driver’s license, O’Malley said you are saying “yes, to saving lives.”

Schechterle travels around the country speaking about his experience, and inspires many along the way. “I am the luckiest, happiest person in the world,” Schechterle said.

Locally, more than 700 people are on the waiting list for an organ transplant.

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