Miracle Worker – Living Donor Gives Liver to Friend from Church
Rachelle Jeffers shares spiritual story during National Donor Sabbath Observation
Pittsburgh, Nov. 10, 2017 – This weekend, the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) will participate in the National Donor Sabbath observation.
National Donor Sabbath is an annual commemoration in which faith leaders from many religions, donor families, transplant recipients, and donation and transplantation professionals participate in services to educate about the need for more life-saving and healing gifts made possible by transplantation. The commemoration encourages people to register as organ, tissue and cornea donors.
“Organ, tissue and cornea donation is a great act of compassion and generosity,” said Susan Stuart, president and CEO of CORE. “Through National Donor Sabbath, communities are provided a platform to reflect on and celebrate their faith, and encourage all to make the pledge for life.”
The connection between faith and organ donation is a special one for Rachelle Jeffers, 33, of Altoona, Pennsylvania. Earlier this year, Ms. Jeffers discovered a friend in the church needed a liver and family members were being tested for a potential match as a living donor. Allen “Bud” Mitchell, then 77, of Altoona, is a vibrant man who everyone knew and loved.
“I was hugging Bud’s wife after church one day, and she told me he needed a liver,” said Ms. Jeffers. “I could hear a word in the back of my mind: ‘offer.’ So, I did. I offered my liver to him as if it were a cup of coffee.”
After extensive testing, Ms. Jeffers received a call in May that she was a match. She immediately called the Mitchells with the life-transforming news. Within three weeks, Ms. Jeffers and Mr. Mitchell were at the transplant facility for surgery. Today, they are healthy and doing well. Mr. Mitchell recently celebrated his 78th birthday and taught his first Sunday School class since the surgery.
“We are called to love one another and to give freely of ourselves,” said Ms. Jeffers. “The Bible teaches that ‘Greater love has no man than this: to lay down one’s life for a friend.’”
At least 21 people will die each day without receiving the organ transplant they need. For every person who donates their organs, tissue and corneas, up to eight lives can be saved and 75 lives can be dramatically improved.
For more information about CORE, visit core.org/register or call 1-800-DONORS-7.
The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is one of 58 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the United States. CORE works closely with donor families and designated healthcare professionals to coordinate the surgical recovery of organs, tissue and corneas for transplantation. CORE also facilitates the computerized matching of donated organs and placement of corneas. With headquarters in Pittsburgh and an office in Charleston, West Virginia, CORE oversees a region that encompasses 163 hospitals and almost six million people throughout western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Chemung County, New York. For more information, visit core.org or call 1-800-DONORS-7.