Non-Profit Organization Working To Find East Texans Organ And Tissue Donors - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/27/2007- Tyler

Non-Profit Organization Working To Find East Texans Organ And Tissue Donors

Gary McDonald didn't know it yet, but in 1998, he found out he was dying. Doctors told him he had contracted Hepatitis C in Vietnam and it was now causing liver failure.

Gary got on an organ donation list, but help didn't come soon enough. Then he caught a break. Gary found out about Southwest Transplant Alliance in Tyler. S.T.A works to help find organ donors for those in need by going to local hospitals and visiting families of patients on life support but without any brain activity.

"That's a wonderful feeling that S.T.A gives. It's a unique opportunity to do; we not only save lives daily by the organs received, but we get to offer support to the donors and their families."

Andy Clinton, works for the East Texas branch of S.T.A The organization is non-profit and works to speed up the process of organ donation by working with local hospitals. There's a huge need. In the state of Texas alone there're more than 7,000 people on organ transplant lists; like Gary was for several years.

"Anyone can get one, anyone can give one. It's easy and it's the right thing to do. I really hope people open up to organ donation." 

Three years ago, S.T.A  found Gary a donor. Someone opened up to him, and saved his life.

"Every morning when I wake up I say thank you Lord for my donor family. Without that I wouldn't be here talking to you today...it's a true miracle."

Gary thinks angels were watching over him so now he's become one; volunteering for Neal McCoy's Angel Network. He's playing in McCoy's charity golf tournament. Gary's donor was an avid golfer and now it's just one more thing he shares with his donor.

"I told my donor family I was playing and she asked me to be sure when I see that white golf ball to remember her husband Chris, my donor, and I said I will, believe me I will," said a teary-eyed and grateful McDonald.

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