By JOHN HOWELL Pawtucket resident Billy Partain told a gathering of state and city officials outside City Hall Wednesday that when he lost his husband, he gained a family. Partiain's story underscored the importance of the organ donation program and how
Pawtucket resident Billy Partain told a gathering of state and city officials outside City Hall Wednesday that when he lost his husband, he gained a family.
Partiain’s story underscored the importance of the organ donation program and how it can save lives. When Bill’s husband died, his heart saved the life of a woman who went on to have a son. She named him Joe, for Billy’s husband.
In a way, Billy said, his husband lives on. Too, he has gained a family.
Billy’s story resonated with House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, who said his mother registered as an organ donor and after she died her skin went to a burn victim.
“To have helped someone after you have passed is wonderful,” he said.
Rep. David Bennett, a nurse, likewise endorsed the program.
“People need what we have,” he said. “When we don’t need them [organs], we can give them.”
The occasion celebrated April as Donate Life Month.
Matthew Boger, who manages state relations for New England Donor Services based in Waltham, underscored the ease of registering as an organ donor and the importance the state plays in the donation process. He said the vast majority of those registering as organ and tissue donors do so through the Division of Motor Vehicles when getting or renewing their license. He said that fewer than 50 percent of motorists have chosen to be donors, urging for more individuals to make that choice.
According to a release issued by Donor Services, last year more than 1,027 lives were saved in New England because of the generosity of organ donors. He said with the need for life-saving transplants with more than 108,000 patients on the U.S. transplant waiting list, “it is crucial to educate our communities about taking action to register as donors.”
Sen. Kendra Anderson spoke of the heart and how it is both a symbol of love and of life. “It is a line of love and a line of life,” she said.
Liz Sanderman, an organ donation advocate representing the Lions Club, spoke of the importance of registering as a donor. Lions Clubs across the country and the world have taken on the challenge of promoting donor registrations, Boger explained.
Mayor Frank Picozzi, who welcomed the event to Warwick, endorsed the campaign. And to illustrate his commitment, he held up his license with the heart to indicate he is registered as a donor. To register or to learn more, visit www.RegisterMe.org.