BECKLEY, W.VA. – Beckley and Summers County ARH Hospitals will celebrate National Donate Life Month with flag raising ceremonies at each location.
Kelly Elkins, ARH Regional Community & Development Manager, says the event is designed to both recognize those who have shared the gift of life as well as to encourage others to consider doing the same.
“It’s really just to raise awareness of the importance of being a donor and becoming a donor,” she said.
The ceremony at Beckley ARH will take place April 20 at 11 a.m. It will include an invocation from hospital chaplain Pastor Rick Robertson, as well as a welcome from ARH Regional CEO Jeremy Hall. Jessica Wheeler, Donor Family Supports Coordinator for CORE (Center for Organ Recovery & Education) will also deliver a few remarks.
Mother and daughter Tammy Evans and Shannon Barbero, of Beckley, will share their organ donation story. In 2019, Barbero served as a living liver donor for Evans, who was suffering from liver disease.
“Who better to speak at the events than the people who have first-hand experiences?” asked Elkins.
A similar event is scheduled for April 21 at 11 a.m., at Summers County ARH Hospital. Hospital chaplain Pastor Robbie Merritt will deliver the invocation, followed by a welcome from Summers ARH Interim CEO Joseph Preast and a few words from Wheeler.
Ashley Williams, who received a kidney transplant in May 2020, after being diagnosed with stage IV renal failure, will serve as the speaker.
Both ceremonies will take place in the hospital lobbies before moving outside for a flag raising.
Elkins said she encourages members of the public to attend the events and to take time to learn more about organ donation.
“Many here in our communities either have someone in their families or know someone who has donated – either as an end-of-life donor or as a living donor – or has even received a donation,” she said. “I encourage the community to come out and honor those people.”
According to statistics provided by National Donate Life Month, more than 42,000 transplants from 21,300 took place in the United States in 2022. Of those transplants, 241 took place in West Virginia.
Still, more than 100,000 people nationwide are awaiting lifesaving organ transplants with an additional name added to the registry every nine minutes.
For information on becoming an organ donor, visit www.core.org/register.