Organ recipients in Mississippi are celebrating the gift of life made possible through organ and tissue donations. As MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports experts say there is always a need for more people to donate.
Chequetta Harper of Jackson is telling the story of how she made the decision to become an organ donor family. Her husband, Police Officer Allen J. Harper Jr., was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle and died from his injuries in 2017. Harper says she was reluctant when the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency or MORA asked if she wanted to donate her husband's organs.
"I wanted to say no because it meant that I was going to have to say goodbye to him," said Harper. "But then I had to remember that's the way that he had lived his life. He had always been a giver. So how could I be so selfish and say no? So I decided to say yes and he helped save 11 people."
The University of Mississippi Medical Center and MORA hosted the annual event that brings donor recipients and donor families together. Kevin Stump with MORA says the state is doing well when it comes to families giving consent for organ tissue and eye donation.
"We're also seeing more and more people signing up on the registry but we need more," said Stump. "We need more people to realize that this really does save lives. And what better thing for your loved one to do then, as their last act here on Earth, they save lives."
Four months ago, Kimberly Cooley of Duck Hill received a liver transplant.
"My biggest complication yet has been reminding myself not to try to conquer the world because I feel like I can," said Cooley. "That's how much my health has improved. And so I am learning to instead of going 100 percent all day, go 80 and rest of 20."
There are more than 1,300 people in Mississippi on the waiting list for organ transplants.