Faircloth encourages Rotary members to donate organs

Published 9:31 am Friday, July 20, 2012

June Faircloth is well known locally for encouraging citizens to become organ donors. This past Tuesday, she helped put a face on the lives that are helped by organ donation.

Faircloth, the local representative for LifeLink of Georgia, was the guest speaker at Tuesday’s meeting of the Bainbridge Rotary Club. She was accompanied by several guests, who have had their own personal experiences with organ donation.

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Joyce Earnest, a corporate support coordinator at Southwest Georgia Farm Credit, explained that she once donated a kidney to her late son when he was 9 years old at the time. Her donated kidney eventually failed and her son had to get a second kidney donated later in life, but thankfully there was a donor available whose organ was an even better match than hers.

“It was truly amazing, this donor’s kidney was an even better match than mine was,” she said. “He received the kidney that Thanksgiving, and he was able to live for 18 more years after that. I lost my son six years ago, but even today Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, because I remember the opportunity he was given that day thanks to a donor.”

Earnest said her son decided to donate his own organs after he passed away, as well.

“I don’t know the age [of the people who received my son’s donated organs],” she said. “I don’t know what religion they were, or what skin color they were. It does not matter — it is the gift of life.”

Michael Duke, who lives in Decatur County and works as a paramedic for Seminole County EMS, also spoke Tuesday. When Duke’s son passed away, he also donated his organs.

“Somewhere down in Florida, my son’s eyes live on today by helping another human have the gift of sight,” he said. “It is truly a gift that you can give even after you’ve left this earth. Why stick it in the ground and throw it away?”

Faircloth lost her 18-year-old son, Dylan, in an automobile accident in July 2010. Stan Gann, a retired high school football coach in Warner Robins, Ga., received Dylan’s heart. Two mothers received Dylan’s kidneys, a mechanic in Georgia received his liver and an 11-year-old boy received his cornea.

Organ donor training session

LifeLink of Georgia seeks volunteers to assist with educational programs pertaining to organ and tissue donation. Volunteer activities include public speaking, staffing information tables at health-related events, attending special events and assisting with administrative functions.

Potential volunteers include organ, tissue and corneal transplant recipients and their families, patients currently waiting for an organ or tissue transplant, donor family members and anyone interested in promoting organ and tissue donation in Georgia. A training session will be held in Bainbridge on Tuesday, July 18, at 6 p.m., at Interior Specialists, Inc., located at 1314 Dothan Road.

To become a volunteer or to learn more about organ and tissue donation, visit www.lifelinkfound.org/ga or contact LifeLink’s Public Affairs Department at (706) 854-0333 or 1-800-544-6667. To sign up to be an organ, tissue and eye donor, visit online at Donate Life Georgia’s organ and tissue registry at www.donatelifegeorgia.org or call 1-866-57-SHARE (74273).