MOBILE – The University of South Alabama Regional Transplant Center recently hosted their annual Organ Donor Recognition Ceremony at the USA Mitchell Center.
A candle-lighting ceremony to honor and remember deceased donors and their families who made the decision to donate organs highlighted the ceremony, which took place during Donate Life month. Each recipient lit a candle in memory of his or her donor. A traveling section of the national donor family quilt was on display as well.
USA’s Organ Donor Recognition Ceremony serves to increase awareness of the need for organ donation. More than 2,000 people are on a waiting list for kidneys in Alabama. Less than 300 are transplanted each year.
Dr. Velma Scantlebury, director of transplantation services at the University of South Alabama, said people who want to become organ donors need to discuss their wishes with their family. “It is not enough to sign an organ donor card. Your family must know your wishes as they will be the ones to make the decision,” said Scantlebury. “Patients needing kidney transplantation can wait years before a matching kidney becomes available.”
A strong proponent of organ donation from both living and deceased donors, USA’s transplant surgeon believes educating the public about the need is important. Scantlebury has performed more than 800 kidney transplants in her career. She holds the distinction of being the first African-American female kidney transplant surgeon in the nation.
The USA Regional Transplant Center, located at USA Medical Center, provides transplant evaluations, kidney transplants and follow-up care for patients in south Alabama, coastal Mississippi and northwest Florida. For more information on kidney transplants or organ donation, call the transplant center at (251) 471-7391 or toll free (877) 421-5704.