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From loss comes life with record year of organ donations during pandemic

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 6:36 PM CDT
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FLOWOOD, Miss. (WLBT) - 2020 will be remembered as a year of loss by many. But in some instances, loss gave life.

The Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency saw record donations, a rebirth of sorts and improved quality of life for nearly 800 Mississippians.

“God gave me another chance at life,” said Angel Meeks.

Diagnosed with congestive heart failure, the now 42-year-old waited three years on the transplant list until receiving the life saving gift in January 2020.

“December 2019, I told my mama for Christmas I didn’t want nobody to give me nothing for Christmas,” said Meeks. ”All I wanted was God to bless me with a heart and, in January, He did just that.”

The Canton resident’s heart was one of 98 transplants in 2020 - a record year of donations for MORA during the outbreak.

“In the middle of all this pandemic we hit a million people in the donor registry,” said MORA CEO, Kevin Stump.

The 20-year senior administrative MORA CEO said families of all ethnicities stepped up, giving organs, tissues and eyes that allowed others to live and have brighter futures.

“It was amazing to see the great people of the State of Mississippi saying, you know, this is a horrible time we’re going through. If our loved one can give somebody a ray of hope, let’s do it,” said Stump.

The history making donations resulted in 284 life saving organ transplants. There were nearly 500 tissue donations from more than 280 donors.

Meeks’ donor was a 39-year-old wife and mother from Little Rock, Arkansas named Brandy.

“I love Brandy’s family. Her mom always checks on me and we text each other and my heart goes out to them, and the beat goes on,” added Meeks. “And, like I told her and her family, I’m going to take care of Brandy’s heart.”

“We’re continuing to try and provide education to the public about, you know, this is really a life saving event,” added Stump. “What better thing for you to do as your last act on this earth than to save somebody else’s life.”

To learn more about organ donation, go to www.msora.org or to sign up to donate, go to www.registerms.org.

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