Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital is joining the nationwide effort to save lives through organ donation.
April is Donate Life Month and Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital taking part in the national effort to save lives through organ donation. For the 5th year in a row, the hospital is holding a Donate Life flag-raising ceremony Friday, April 12th.
“We leave that flag up during the month of April and then we raise it when we have an organ donor, and then we proceed to our healing lodge and have a ceremony,” according to Candace Wiercioch, director of cardiac and critical care services at the hospital.
She says each year’s ceremony has some common themes as well as its own unique touches.
“We do a couple of readings and usually we have some kind of…last year we had an interpretive dance, we had a guitar player and then we go out to a little garden area in the healing lodge and we plant an azalea in remembrance of those who were donors for the year.
Wiercioch states it’s part of the effort to raise awareness about the need for organ donors.
“The National Donate Life Month is always in April. It is locally, regionally and nationally, there’s activities to educate and encourage people to register as organ, eye, and tissue donors as well to celebrate those who have saved and healed lives.”
She says the most recent numbers show there 114,000 on the national waitlist for organs, with 5200 in Georgia. 22 people a day die on the list.
Wiercioch says in 2017 a group of ICU nurses raised money to commission artwork in commemoration of the event. A UGA student designed and built a tree in honor of organ donors, recipients and their families. A new gold leaf is added to the tree for each organ and tissue donor.
This year’s theme is Life is a Beautiful Ride. The ceremony is Friday, April 12th at 2 pm. The community is invited to attend.