KOTA News Extra: Giving life, giving hope - KOTA Territory News

KOTA News Extra: Giving life, giving hope

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Thousands of people wake up every morning wondering if today is the day they'll get a new chance at life.
Even though roughly 55% of South Dakotans are signed up to be organ donors, LifeSource experts say more people are needed to create more match-possibilities.

Doug and Carol Pavel lost their son, Brian, in a construction accident seven years go. "The whole thing with Brian dying was not a closure to his life, it was just the beginning of life for other people," said Doug Pavel. 

Brian's death saved and affected 44 people, who received his organs and tissues. "It aged from 12 to 72," said Carol Pavel. "People just don't want their loved one to be forgotten, and the organ donation process and donating organs is one of those ways where your loved one will never be forgotten," said Doug Pavel. 

Giving Doug and Carol one good thing from such a tragedy. "We have this as a step in our life, it's a new chapter, and we can go on with this," said Doug Pavel. They even met the man who received their son's heart and liver. "Dick [Veale] wasn't going to make it to Christmas 2007," said Doug Pavel. "He had already said goodbye to his family," said Carol Pavel. 
 
"If we have more people willing to give those gifts of life, less people would die every day," said Susan Marohn, with LifeSource. Marohn says 4,000 people are waiting for transplants in our region. "For a recipient, they wake up every morning hoping that phone call comes to them," said Marohn.

More than 120,000 people wait nationally, and someone is added to that list every 12 minutes. "The ability to actually donate is slim, so we need to provide to as many as possible," said Marohn.

To save people like Sherry McCloskey. "I have polycystic kidney disease," said McCloskey. Which means cysts will eventually cause her kidneys to lose function. Her kids tried to donate, but they ended up having the same disease she has. 

Now she spends three days a week undergoing dialysis, which helps clean the toxins from her blood. "It's a really life changing thing," said McCloskey. "It's hard to get used to; it's just changes everything in your life. It affects your family." All while waiting for a transplant. "If you really took the time to look into how many lives saved amazed," said McCloskey.
 
"You can save and affect up to 60 people if you're a donor - that's a huge gift to give," said Marohn, with LifeSource. 

Giving hope to both the families who receive a transplant, and to the families like the Pavels who donated. "Our support system came from LifeSource and the families we met through LifeSource," said Carol Pavel. 

You don't have to wait until you update your license to change your organ-donor status. Click here to change online: https://apps.sd.gov/ps09onlinerenewal/organdonorupdate.aspx

If the Pavel's story affected you, and you would like to speak with them about how organ donation has affected (or will affect) your life, the Pavel's welcome your phone call at 605-269-3901. Also note, Doug and Carol Pavel have created a beautiful wild garden at the top of their home, called "Brian's Garden," in honor of their son. 

Brian's Garden is a free and peaceful space open to the public from May 1 through October 31 from 9:00 a.m. until sunset. It is located at 12257 Crackerjack Road Whitewood, SD 57793. This garden offers a place of reflection for those who gave life and received it. 
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