Organ donors celebrated at Hattiesburg arts event

Organ donors celebrated at Hattiesburg arts event

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Families of organ donors and transplant recipients gathered at Painting with a Twist in Hattiesburg Saturday for a special arts activity celebrating those who are organ, eye or tissue donors.

The 4th annual Impressions of Life was held at three locations across Mississippi and was sponsored by the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA).

During the event, each participant painted a sunflower, which is the symbol for National Donate Life Month (April).

Next week, the paintings will be exhibited at the Hattiesburg office of MORA.

"I like to tell families as unique as our loved ones are to us in those special ways, these paintings of a sunflower, each one will be unique," said Vicki Shoemake, family care specialist for MORA.

"We came out to honor our donor," said Jessica Wilson of Laurel.

Her daughter, Jenna, had a heart transplant last summer, and the family doesn't know who the donor was.

"Everybody's story is different, but it helps to have people (at the event) that do know," Wilson said. "You can talk to your neighbors or your friends and they can sympathize with you, but for somebody to have actually gone through it, it helps a lot."

"It makes me feel blessed, to know that there are people that are willing to donate," said Rebecca Graham of Columbia. Her husband was a tissue donor.

Other Impressions of Life events were held Saturday in Ridgeland and Tupelo.