Donate Life flag

Senior Security Officer Blain King, left, and ICU Manager Patty Harmon, unfold the Donate Life flag at Providence St. Mary Medical Center on Tuesday, April 4, in honor of National Donate Life Month.

Staff at Providence St. Mary Medical Center gathered Tuesday, April 4, to support and promote organ donation by hoisting a Donate Life flag in front of the hospital.

April is National Donate Life Month, which encourages organ and tissue donation.

“The organ donation flag is a symbol of unity, remembrance and of hope,” said Stephanie Williams, executive director of ancillary services. “Giving the gift of life is one of the most selfless legacies a person can leave behind.”

Patty Harmon, manager of Providence St. Mary Intensive Care, said the hospital mostly does skin tissue and bone transplants, with solid organ transplants only once or twice a year.

In February alone, about 10 people at Providence St. Mary donated their eyes to those in need. Harmon said eye donations can help patients with eyesight issues through cornea transplants.

“When you have organ donation, usually on one side it’s really tragic, because someone is losing someone that they love,” Harmon said. “But then on the other side, they’re able to help other people have a very good, productive life, or be able to see again. So there’s always a good outcome from a very sad situation.”

One donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation, according to data from Donate Life America. However, organ donations do not only have to come from the deceased.

Living donors can donate a kidney or a portion of their liver. Of all patients on the national waiting list for organ donation, 85% need a kidney and 11% need a liver. Living tissue donation is also used to promote healing and treat burns and painful wounds. More information about living donation can be found at

Harmon said for anyone considering becoming a donor, having it put on their driver's license is the most important step. Agreeing to organ donation while receiving or renewing your license is legally binding.

“Also, just have a conversation with your family,” Harmon said. “Tell them that’s what you want to do.”

Anyone interested in becoming a donor can register their decision at

Loryn Kykendall reports on health care and education. She can be reached at

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