March 11, 2007
Nearly 95,000 people are currently awaiting an organ transplant in the US and more than 2,000 of those are in Virginia.
When Annie Parr's son Jeremy died back in December of 2005, she and her family were left with many questions; but she said the decision to donate his organs was an easy one.
"Jeremy gave the gift of life probably a million times before he passed away...each organ that he gave was a gift of life to people who were literally dying," said Parrs.
She described Jeremy as a man who always put others before himself, so after his death when his family found his organ donor card they knew immediately that he had planned on helping others even if he wasn't around.
"He saved six lives and three of the people we know for a fact only had a few months to live," said Parrs.
One of those three strangers, was a mother her self who the Parr family had the chance to meet face to face.
"One of them had a little daughter who made a wish that her mother would come home for Christmas with a new set of lungs.Her mom did come home really healthy, so that was really good," said Parrs.
She also says the family doesn't look at their tragedy as Jeremy dying so that others could live.
"We like to look at it as, Jeremy became an angel...he lived a full life here and he also helps six other people live," said Parrs.
Transplant surgeries like Jeremy's are performed in hospitals nation wide, including UVA Medical Center where doctors there say organ donation is vital to saving so many.
"There is an ever increasing disparity between the number of people who need organs and the amount of organs that are available," said Dr. Kenneth Brayman, a surgeon at UVA.
Dr. Brayman says as a transplant surgeon there's nothing more gratifying than for one of his patients to be the recipient of an organ.
"There's nothing greater than to get the gift of life," said Brayman.
Parr said, "It just keeps on giving, and giving and giving."