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Organ Donation Volunteers Rise Sharply in Mississippi

By Daniel Cherry | Published 03 May 2012 06:30pm | comments

The number of people signing up as organ donors is on the rise in Mississippi after a public appeal this week from the social media site Facebook. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports what that means for Mississippians waiting on life changing transplants.

There are currently about one thousand Mississippians waiting on organ transplants. Carl Palmer was one of those people. Nearly 20 years ago he developed a rare kidney disorder requiring treatment.

"I started dialysis treatment, which is basically a treatment to keep you alive. It acts as a kidney pretty much."

Palmer says the treatment consumed his life.

"You just have fluids going into your body and draining off. You had to do that for nine hours and five minutes every day."

Almost a year to the day, Palmer received his new kidney, freeing him from his lengthy treatments. Donation advocates like Palmer say, why take organs to the grave when they could potentially save the lives of people needing them. A recent push by Facebook, where users could sign up as organ donors via their profiles has led to huge increases of potential donors across the nation. Kevin Stump, CEO of the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency says Mississippi is no different.

"Typically on any given day we'll have 4-5 people sign up in a 24 hour period through either the DMV, the website, or a donor registry drive. In the last 48 hour period, we've had almost 300 people sign up."

That's certainly encouraging for Mississippians awaiting transplants. As for Carl Palmer, he's thankful he can go back to a normal, healthy life...and he just got some good news.

"I'm really excited. Actually I had my last appointment today with my transplant team. Everything is looking fine. The kidney is working. Right now it's looking up."

It's estimated one person dies every four hours in the U.S. awaiting an organ transplant.

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