Cleveland MHP office honored
by Rory Doyle
May 10, 2013 | 1954 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland's Highway Patrol office and the Mid-South Transplant Foundation teamed up recently to raise awareness about organ and tissue donations.

The Cleveland branch, where locals go to get their driver's licenses, finished in second place amongst Mississippi Highway Patrol offices that took part in MSTF's inaugural National Donate Life Blue and Green Day.

The official event, held April 19, was celebrated by staff as they decorated the office, donned blue and green and were prepped with information about organ and tissue transplants.

The staff chose a "Wizard of Oz" theme and even had model Scarecrow and Tinman props.

April is tagged National Donate Life Month in celebration of transplantation.

Greg Jackson, hospital services coordinator for MSTF, visited the office Wednesday to award the branch for its winning participation.

Three local kidney transplant recipients, Floreice Sutton, Zachary Haynes and his father Barry Haynes, were present to say thanks to those who donated to them in a time of need.

"This was our first attempt at Blue and Green Day and it was a big success," said Jackson. "Every month we're going to bring information to the different offices and encourage staff to provide material to people coming in for services."

Eleven-year-old Zachary, who needed the transplant because be was born dehydrated, said it means a lot knowing organizations are educating others about the issue.

In August of 2012 he received his transplant from an anonymous donor who Zachary said is an angel. Today he is happy, healthy and feeling more energetic.

"I just want to say thank you to everyone," said Zachary. "We should keep raising more money to help people that need donors."

Amazingly, Zachary's father also required a kidney transplant and Zachary's uncle, Benny Haynes, answered the prayers for a donor.

"It's been an incredible path my son and I have been down," said Barry. "Events like today are so important because it's about educating the people."

Sutton also was pleased with MHP's efforts.

"You don't hear a lot about transplants and what it means to be a donor and recipient," said the recipient of a kidney and cornea transplant.

"This experience has made me a stronger person and not let me take anything for granted," Sutton added. "Transplants are about saving lives and we need everyone to understand what their support can do."

According to an MSTF press release, there are currently more than 118,000 individuals on the national waiting list for an organ transplant.

More than 28,000 lives are saved each year in the U.S. through organ donation, and 18 people die every day for lack of available organs. In Mississippi alone, 284 people are waiting for life-saving transplants.

After death, one organ donor can save as many as eight lives.

Cleveland's Highway Patrol Master Sargent Ola Kirk said her office would continue to spread awareness on the pressing issue.

"It's an honor for us to be recognized today, but this is really about the people who need it," said Kirk. "Our commitment comes from the heart and we will do what we can to save lives."

One way to save lives is to register on the Organ and Tissue Donor Registry at www.DonateLifeMS.org.

MSTF is the designated nonprofit organ procurement organization for the Mid-South area, including parts of western Tennessee, eastern Arkansas and 19 counties in northern Mississippi.

MSTF is also a member of Donate Life America; www.midsouthtransplant.org.