Make an important donation

Published 7:23 pm Monday, January 25, 2010

I don’t know how many more times it can be emphasized — organ and blood donors save lives.

This newspaper has put this issue at the forefront numerous times, but perhaps none more compelling than the story of Mrs. Annie Corrine Eaton, who currently is recovering from a kidney transplant. Mrs. Eaton, a Suffolk native, was on dialysis for about nine and a half years before receiving a kidney this fall.

“I can’t stop praising Him,” Eaton told News-Herald reporter Leila Roche, who did a feature on Mrs. Eaton this weekend.

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Eaton’s life has been full of medical ups and downs — mostly downs. She has been hospitalized more than 100 times. In 1994, Eaton discovered her heart was operating at 10 percent efficiency when she went to the doctor because she was always tired. She was placed on the heart transplant list, but “prayers and good doctors” were able to get her off the list with the heart she was born with, she said.

Then, in 2000, Mrs. Eaton was diagnosed with kidney failure. She underwent nearly 10 years of dialysis, dry skin and being unable to have more than 32 ounces of water per day. She finally got on the transplant list in 2008.

This fall, Mrs. Eaton finally received the call that she would receive a kidney.

“Hallelujah, hallelujah,” Eaton said when repeating the story this weekend.

Though Eaton has had a couple downs since her transplant, things are finally looking up for Mrs. Eaton. She was eager to give her testimony to a News-Herald reporter to share her story.

The importance of signing up to become an organ donor cannot be stressed enough. Three Virginians die each week waiting for a life-saving organ transplant that doesn’t come in time. Each person who signs up to be an organ donor, however, can save up to seven lives, and improve the lives of more than 50 people through tissue donation and up to 10 people through eye donation.

Many people do not like to think about the idea of organ donation, which is leading to a critical shortage of donors in Virginia and across the nation. Admittedly, the idea of death is hard for most people to think about, and the knowledge of what goes into transplant surgery is somewhat grisly.

But think about if that were your parent, grandparent, sibling, child, grandchild or spouse who needed that organ. Wouldn’t you hope that someone else had made the selfless decision to allow their organs to be donated to help your loved one?

To find out more about organ donation in Virginia, visit There, you can sign up to be an organ donor, learn the truth about the myths surrounding organ and tissue donation and read the stories of people whose lives were saved thanks to an organ donor.

Many people, like Mrs. Eaton, are counting on you.