Southcoast celebrates Donate Life Month with flag-raising ceremony

New England Donor Services helps give a second chance at life to those in need of a transplant

On April 21, providers, nurses and staff gathered at St. Luke’s Hospital for Southcoast Health’s annual flag-raising ceremony in recognition of Donate Life Month.

Celebrated every April since 2003, Donate Life Month is a time to recognize the recipients of organ and tissue donation and increase awareness about becoming a donor and giving someone in need of a transplant a second chance at life.

All three Southcoast Health Hospitals, Charlton Memorial, St. Luke’s and Tobey, work in collaboration with New England Donor Services, the area’s local designated Organ Procurement Organization, to provide lifesaving donations to individuals in need of an organ or tissue transplant.

In 2021, Southcoast Health was able to save or enhance 26 lives due to the selflessness of 12 organ and tissue donors. So far in 2022, 16 more lives have already been saved or enhanced, officials said.

“Becoming an organ and tissue donor can turn a time of devastating loss into a time of hope,” said Renee Clark, Chief Operations Officer of Southcoast Hospitals Group, who lead the event. “Today we raise the Donate Life Flag to honor those individuals who have decided to become organ donors, to remember those who have donated organs, and to recognize the families who have supported the decision to donate.”

At the event, Tuesday Desrochers, a Donate Life volunteer, shared her family’s story of organ donation in honor of her son Caleb who became an organ donor at age 16 and whose memory continues to inspire others to donate. Caleb passed away at age 24.

Craig Tucker, BS, RRT-NPS, CPTC, the NEDS Director of Donation Strategy, also attended and spoke at the event, emphasizing the importance of the collaboration between Southcoast Heath and NEDS to help make organ donation possible in the South Coast region.

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, a federal agency, more than 100,000 people across the country are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant and another person is added to the list approximately every nine minutes.

On average, 8,000 people die each year because the organ they need is not donated in time.

As an organ donor, one person can save the lives of up to eight people and tissue donation can help save or enhance the lives of up to 75 people.

Southcoast Heath hospitals will fly the New England Donor Services Flag in April and then again on the last day of each month at each hospital where an organ donation has occurred to honor the memory of the person who gave a second chance at life to others. The flag is also a symbol of hope to all patients in need of a transplant.

To learn more about National Donate Life Month, please visit the New England Donor Society.  You can register to be an organ and tissue donor through the National Donate Life Registry or at the RMV when you renew your license.