Gift of Life Donor Wall Unveiled at Merit Health Central

16.05.19_MHCPic1Gift of Life Donor Wall Unveiled at Merit Health Central

Merit Health Central honors those who saved and healed lives through donation

JACKSON, Miss., May 18, 2016 Merit Health Central today announced it is partnering with the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA) and the Mississippi Lions Eye Bank in a ceremony to reveal a new memorial wall designed to honor organ, tissue and eye donors.

The ceremony is the first of what will become an annual tradition of honoring donors both past and present. Organ, eye and tissue donation offers many families comfort in the midst of loss, health hardship and grief.

 “Creating a lasting tribute to those who gave hope and new life through donation has been a dream of ours for years,” said Kevin Stump, CEO, MORA. “There have been nearly 20 donors at Merit Health Central since our partnership began.   “We are humbled by their selflessness and gracious for the opportunity to commemorate their incredible contribution to others.”

The Gift of Life Donor Wall features photographs of organ, tissue, and eye donors submitted by their loved ones.

“We are honored to create a special location that permanently recognizes the legacy of generosity left by our organ and tissue donors and their families,” said Jon-Paul Croom, CEO of Merit Health Central.  “We are also thankful for Merit Health Central’s 20 year partnership with MORA and ardently support the value of organ and tissue donation for patients in need.”

Every day, an estimated 22 people die while waiting for an organ transplant. More than 122,000 Americans are in need of a life-saving organ transplant and approximately 1,500 are located in Mississippi.  The level of necessity, blood type and size are among several criteria that determine who can receive a donated organ. One individual donor can provide organs and tissue for nearly 50 people in need.

Although hospitals are obligated by law to identify potential donors and inform families of their right to donate, anyone can sign up to become an organ donor by signing up online at msora.org or when renewing a driver’s license at the Department of Public Safety.

If a loved one was an organ donor at Merit Health Central and would like to be revered on the Gift of Life wall in the future, please contact MORA at (601) 933-1000 or visit www.msora.org.

Picture attached: (l to r): MORA CEO Kevin Stump, Mississippi Lions Eye Bank Executive Director Mike Flynt, Merit Health Chief of Nursing Laura Knight, Hursie Davis-Sullivan, MD, Chief of Staff Merit Health Central and Jon-Paul Croom, CEO of Merit Health Central stand in front of the Gift of Life Donor Wall unveiled at Merit Health Central in Jackson on Wednesday, May 18th, 2016.

It’s Super Easy to Become a Donor!

Did you know It’s Super Easy to register as an organ donor?  It takes less than 2 minutes to be someone’s hero. That is the driving force behind the new website and advertising campaign that was released by the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency in early May. The campaign can be seen in select movie theaters across the state and on digital platforms as well. Check out the new registration page at www.itssupereasy.org. After you register as an organ donor, share your “Hero Status” and the cool collection of League of Lifesavers videos on your social media pages. If you are already registered as a donor, click the “Already Registered” link to click through to the video page where you can share the videos too!

with card poster group shot

MORA’s Family Care Specialist Anna Jacobs and Volunteer Rachel Payne Receive 2016 Caring Women Awards

16.05.11_Anna & Rachel win Caring Women AwardsOn Wednesday, May 11th, Merit Health Biloxi held its 10th Annual 2016 Caring Women Award Ceremony at the Beau Rivage to honor and give recognition to five outstanding women in the community. The women honored demonstrated selfless acts of service and were awarded in the categories of Leadership, Perseverance, Mentor, Defender and Promise.

MORA’s Family Care Specialist, Anna Jacobs, won the “Defender Award” which represents one who champions the cause of a disadvantaged persons or groups. Her work as a board of director for other non-profits she is involved in, homeless ministry, and more importantly her work with MORA providing support to donor families and efforts to raise awareness about donation were recognized.

Donate Life Mississippi and MORA were mentioned multiple times throughout the award presentation as one of MORA’s  volunteers, Rachel Payne, was awarded with the 2016 “Perseverance Award” and her commitment to the promotion of organ, eye and tissue donation was highlighted. That meant that 2 of the 5 awards that were awarded today went to promoters of organ, eye and tissue donation.

“What these ladies are doing in the community that few know about is amazing,” said Kathy Springer, assistant administrator, Merit Health Biloxi. “Along with keeping their house going and raising their children and working at their jobs, they are giving of their talent and their time and their resources for the betterment of other people. They all have the commonality of giving without thinking. When they are called into service and called into action they don’t even think about it. They just do it.”

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Legacy Lap 2016

Legacy Lap 2_Med ResLegacy Lap 1Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA), University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and the University Transplant Guild hosted the 2nd annual Legacy Lap on Friday, April 15, 2016 on the UMMC campus in Jackson. Donor families and transplant recipients were the honored guests of a ceremony that included lunch and a balloon release to honor those that gave of themselves so selflessly to save and heal the lives of others through organ, eye and tissue donation.

Donor mom Christina Jordan, pictured left, was able to meet her son, Gabriel’s, kidney and pancreas recipient in a chance meeting.

Click HERE to see the touching story from that day.

WATCH the balloon release video.

Impressions of Life Expands to Three Locations

Pictured Top to Bottom: Ridgeland, Tupelo, and Hattiesburg

Pictured Top to Bottom: Ridgeland, Tupelo, and Hattiesburg

Those touched by donation gathered on Saturday, April 16th, 2016, at three separate locations across the state to participate in the 4th annual  Impressions of Life painting event. This event offers the opportunity for donor families, living donors, transplant recipients, those on the transplant waiting list and their families to come together in a creative environment to paint the sunflower, this year’s symbol of National Donate Life Month.

Events were hosted in Tupelo at the Midtown Pointe Center Court with instructor Lee Thompson, at Easely Amused in Ridgeland, and Painting with a Twist in Hattiesburg. More than 90 participants attended the event statewide.

Click each event listing to see more images from the day:

Tupelo

Ridgeland

Hattiesburg

Click HERE to see news coverage of Hattiesburg’s event. 

MORA Presents Check to USM College of Health

Pictured: USM College of Health Ambassadors with the $500 check from the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency.

Pictured: USM College of Health Ambassadors with the $500 check from the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency.

College of Health Ambassadors held successful donor awareness campaign in 2015

 The University of Southern Mississippi College of Health Ambassadors have proven in recent years that organ, eye and tissue donation awareness is an important issue on the University of Southern Mississippi campus in Hattiesburg and statewide.

For their efforts in the fall of 2015, when the Ambassadors staffed registration tables and handed out awareness materials to fellow students, the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA) donated $500 to the University of Southern Mississippi College of Health for reaching strategic goals, set by the agency, to qualify for the financial contribution.

Since 2012, the College of Health Ambassadors have registered nearly 1,000 new organ, eye and tissue donors in the four consecutive years they have participated in the Donor Challenge created by MORA to increase awareness for the need of donation and registered donors on college campuses. That is a number that Chuck Stinson, the Director of Community Services and Relations for MORA, thinks could be just a starting point of the Ambassadors impact on donation. “In the four years the College of Health Ambassadors have been involved in the Donor Challenge, the official number of new registries is right at 1,000,” said Stinson. “It is safe to say that number is a lot higher because of the impact their outreach efforts have had beyond the designated registration periods,” Stinson added.

“While preparing for future professional careers in health, the College of Health Ambassadors have realized they don’t have to wait until they graduate to make profound differences in the lives of Mississippians. They are dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of registering as an organ donor, and they are excited that they can do it now,” said Dianne Coleman the advisor for the College of Health Ambassadors and the Assistant to the Dean for Special Projects. “Ambassador, donor registration drive chair, and nutrition and food system student Madeline Thornton encouraged informative, on-campus discussions and encouraged Ambassadors to reach out to their respective communities to provide educational information and registration opportunities,” Coleman added.

At present, approximately 1,500 Mississippians and 122,000+ Americans are in need of a lifesaving transplant.  A new patient is added to the national transplant waiting list every 10 minutes and an average of 22 people die each day awaiting a lifesaving transplant that never comes.  One organ donor can save eight lives and one tissue donor can save or heal the lives of 50 recipients or more.  To register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor go to www.donatelifems.org.

MORA’s Hattiesburg Office Hosts Ribbon Cutting and Gallery Night

26493911581_04589494f4_kThe Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA) hosted a Ribbon Cutting and Gallery Night at the agency’s Hattiesburg office on April 20th, 2016. Paintings created at MORA’s “Impressions of Life”  event by those personally touched by donation were on displaythroughout the evening. Each painting included the artist’s story of how organ, eye and tissue donation has impacted their life.

IMG_4182A ribbon cutting was held in partnership with the chamber, and all attendees were invited to participate. Fellowship was encouraged with refreshments and live music by Thomas Leos. Thomas Leos is a living donor, who saved the life of his mother by donating a kidney to her. He was honored with the Gift of Life medallion, for his selfless, heroic gift.

Click HERE to view more photos.

Donate Life Night with the Biloxi Shuckers

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Pictured clockwise from top left: Matthew, Daniel, Jennifer, and Samuel Cartwright

The Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA) hosted Donate Life Night with the Biloxi Shuckers at MGM Park on Thursday, April 21st, 2016. The night was filled with the lifesaving message of donation, encouraging patrons to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. MORA’s Donate Life Ambassadors and volunteers from D’Iberville High School set up awareness and registration tables in the North and South corridors of the stadium. The first 1,000 fans through the gate received a custom, Donate Life/ Biloxi Shuckers baseball cap and everyone received a brochure with education about the importance of registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor with information on how to register online.

IMG_4260Matthew, Jennifer, Daniel and Samuel Cartwright, the donor family of Pierce Cartwright, threw the ceremonial first pitch honoring Pierce’s gift of life and his memory. His family advocates for the mission of donation within their community and have described Pierce’s ability to donate his heart valves as “positive in a very dark place.” The family works tirelessly so that others may know about the gift of donation.

We want to thank everyone who came out to support the Biloxi Shuckers and the lifesaving mission of organ, eye & tissue donation!

Click HERE to see pictures from Donate Life Night with the Biloxi Shuckers!

Jackson Prep Seniors Honor Classmate

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While the check may say $10,000, Jackson Preparatory School in Flowood donated more than $10,000 to the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency on Saturday, April 30th in memory of Walker Wilbanks. The funds in Walker’s honor keep pouring in. Wilbanks was an organ donor in August of 2014 and would have been a graduating senior in May. Walker’s parents, David and Sheila Wilbanks, asked that the senior class participate in MORA’s 5th annual Racing for Donation 8k and raise funds for the Public Education Fund to promote organ, eye and tissue donation. The Prep students and their families responded with the largest fundraising effort by race participants.

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Pictured: Members of #TeamWalker. Photo by Robert Smith - A Visual Life.

Pictured: Members of #TeamWalker. Photo by Robert Smith – A Visual Life.