For the second year, students at Asnuntuck Community College held an organ and tissue donor registration event on campus. ACC student Jocelyn Thompson, in collaboration with other students on campus, students from Enrico Fermi High School, donor recipients, family members of donors, and representatives from Life Choice Donor Services came together on Thursday, April 21st at Asnuntuck. The group helped educate the community, share stories of the impact donating and receiving organs and tissue has on families and individuals, and asked members of the ACC community to commit to becoming an organ donor.
Caitlyn Bernabucci, Public Education/Community Relations Specialist from Life Choice Donor Services said that there are currently 1,400 people in Connecticut who are on a waiting list for a transplant. She said that by registering as a donor people give the ultimate gift of life. She thanked the Quinn and Carlander families for all that they do. The idea to host a donor drive on ACC’s campus came as a result of Fermi High School students Mark Quinn and Skipper Carlander speaking to ACC’s Student Government Association last year about their personal experiences with organ donation. Mark’s father, who passed away, was a donor and Skipper’s brother Jacob was an organ recipient and became a donor at his passing. Joceyln was moved by their stories and worked with fellow classmates and Life Choice Donor Services last year to register 44 donors.
Jane Andrews, a recipient, shared her story during the ceremony, held outside at ACC’s flagpole. After fighting diabetes and being placed on dialysis she received a pancreas and kidney from a 19-year old donor. “He gave me this gift.” She continued, “I have never felt healthier in my life.”
Mark’s grandmother Dee Shover, an Enfield resident, spoke about her experience as a family member who has seen other family members donate and also be a recipient. She stated that since her sister-in-law was the recipient of two kidneys, she in turn was able to adopt children and change the lives of those children. She said that because her son-in-law agreed to be a donor, others were able to be healthier because of the donation of his tissue and valves.
Enfield Mayor Scott Kaupin applauded the efforts of all those involved. “On behalf of the Town I thank you so much for the commitment you have shown so other people can have very productive lives and they can then spread the message as well.”
To learn more about organ and tissue donation visit http://www.lifechoiceopo.org/.