Organ and Tissue Donors Honored

Organ and Tissue Donors Honored

Ocean Springs, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency.

Donor families and transplant recipients gathered to paint in memory of those who have given the "Gift of Life" through organ, eye and tissue donation at the B.Y.O. Brush painting studio in Ocean Springs. Impressions of Life, hosted by the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA), is a popular yet non-traditional memorial exercise for those touched by donation, as a transplant recipient or as a donor family. This was the third year of the event and the first time it has been held on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

"The Gift of Life has affected our community in so many different ways. We are so honored that we can bring together donor families that are honoring their loved ones who have given the Gift of Life, recipients who have received, and living donors who have given," said Anna Jacobs, a Family Care Specialist with MORA. "We are happy to bring them together and allow them to express themselves artistically and help tell their stories and raise awareness during National Donate Life Month."

"I thought it was wonderful," said Ellen Duvernay, a participant in the painting session. Her 26 year old daughter Brittany was an organ donor in September of 2011. "It was a great time to be around other people that have walked in our shoes and to hear their stories."

Rachel Payne, who received a kidney from a donor in 2000, also found inspiration from being around those with so much in common. "For myself personally, I really thoroughly enjoyed that because it was a time to constantly think about my donor and what my family went through and to listen to other people share their stories as well all while your painting." Rachel will close out National Donate Life Month by finally meeting her donor's family for the first time at the end of April.

This year, MORA has the unique opportunity to have some of the artwork displayed during the month of May at the United Network of Organ Sharing's (UNOS) Headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. UNOS is the private, non-profit organization that manages the nation's organ transplant system. Other pieces of artwork from the Impressions of Life event will be displayed at numerous Donate Life Month events throughout Mississippi including an open house for MORA's Gulfport office on Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Knight Nonprofit Center located at 11975 Seaway Road, Gulfport, MS 39503.

Currently over 1,400 Mississippian's and 123,000+ Americans are in need of a lifesaving transplant. A new person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 10 minutes and an average of 21 people die each day awaiting a lifesaving transplant that never comes. To register as an organ, eye and tissue donor please go

Photo attached: Impressions of Life artist show their art work they created in memory of a donor.