CARTHAGE — To spread awareness about organ donation, the Carthage Lions will host a Donate Life Seminar at 6 p.m. Sept. 17 at Carthage Elks Lodge 1762, 511 Fulton St. The seminar is free and snacks will be available.
The seminar will feature guest speakers from the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network and donor recipients.
Lion J. Michael Roderick, a heart transplant recipient, is the driving force behind the seminar.
He said there are many misconceptions about organ donation. Flyers advertising the event have presented some facts and have dispelled some erroneous ideas. One flyer says, “An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.” Other flyers point out that people use age and health conditions as excuses not to donate. However, in many cases, age and health are not big factors in eligibility for transplant. There is no defined cutoff age for donating organs, and very few medical conditions automatically disqualify a person from donating organs.
Another misconception is that only hearts, livers and kidneys can be transplanted; in truth, pancreases, lungs and intestines can also be donated. In addition, tissue can be donated, including eyes, skin, bone, heart valves and tendons.
Locally, a number of people besides Mr. Roderick have benefited from organ donation.
James A. “Spanky” Rebb Jr., who recently had a kidney transplant, will be speaking at the seminar.
In 2007, Mr. Rebb was diagnosed with kidney failure, began dialysis and was put on a transplant waiting list.
“I started at the bottom of the list and got to the top, but being on the top doesn’t mean you’ll get the next kidney; you have to be a match,” Mr. Rebb, a former West Carthage Department of Public Works employee, said.
His wait was over in July when he received an organ from “a young lad from New York City.”
Since the transplant, he said, he has had a “new look at life.”
Mr. Rebb said people should attend the seminar to learn more about donating.
“A lot of people need organs. - kidneys, lungs, hearts. People don’t realize you could be a match for someone. It’s satisfying to give a person a second chance,” he said.