Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 28

COURTESY SHERRELL GAY

COURTESY RENEE THOMPSON

A legacy of

life

Organ donation gives recipients another chance at life
BY H.M. CAULEY

A

nyone watching Ashaun Thompson tear
up the track during competitions wouldn't
know that the 18-year-old has had to overcome more than racing hurdles to make the team.
The Grayson teen's biggest obstacle was learning to live
with his second donated kidney.
Heart disease almost kept Waynesboro's Sherrell
Gay from meeting the grandkids who call her "Suga."
But after undergoing two heart transplants and a kidney
transplant, she's busy spoiling them, as a good nana
should.
Thompson and Gay are just two Georgians whose
life stories would be drastically different without LifeLink
of Georgia, a nonprofit organ-recovery service with offices in Norcross, Augusta and Savannah that works with
hospitals statewide to find donors for those in need and
to deliver donated organs within hours. It also works to
dispel the many misconceptions about organ donation.
"One of the most common myths is that it costs to
be an organ donor," says Tracy Ide, LifeLink's senior
public affairs coordinator in Augusta. "In fact, the recov28

ery process is paid for by LifeLink; it doesn't cost the
donor family anything."
Anyone renewing a driver's license in Georgia can
indicate a willingness to be a donor, but many people
don't think they qualify.
"They say they're too old or too young, but there is
no age limit," Ide says. "Organs are evaluated on a caseby-case basis. What's most important to know is that
one organ donor can help up to 75 people, and that's a
huge legacy to leave."
That legacy is achieved by donors who give not
just hearts, lungs, livers, kidneys, small intestines or
pancreases; the donation list also includes skin, bones,
cartilage, tendons and eyes. For the fiscal year ending
June 30, 2017, 282 donors in Georgia contributed 898
transplanted organs. It's happening, Ide says, through
LifeLink's outreach, not just in educating people about
organ donation but also in getting them to commit to
being donors.
"We used to focus just on telling people about donation," she says. "Now we're encouraging them to make

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - April 2018

Contents
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 3
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 5
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 6
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 7
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 8
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 9
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 10
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 11
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Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - Cover4
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