Lowell Proclaims April as Donate Life Month
supporting organ and tissue donation
The Lowell City Council and Mayor proclaimed April as Donate Life Month in Lowell and encouraged all residents to register to be organ and tissue donors. The vast amount of individuals who register to donate do so when renewing their driver’s license as the Registry of Motor Vehicles, but Massachusetts residents can also register on-line at www.DonateLifeNewEngland.org.
The recognition of Donate Life Month commemorates those who have received or continue to wait for lifesaving transplants as well as the families of individuals who chose to be donors.
Present at the reading of the proclamation at the April 2 City Council meeting were Shannon Gouveia and Olga Gauthier.
Last year, Shannon, who works in the Lowell City Clerk’s office, read on Facebook about Olga, a 39-year-old mother from Dracut who needed a kidney, as her’s were destroyed by polycystic kidney disease.
Touched by this stranger’s plight, Shannon felt compelled to be tested; she was a match.
On October 15, Olga received Shannon’s kidney and was able again to resume a normal life with her 4-year-old daughter, Ava.
Shannon was able to take a paid 30-day leave of absence to recover due to an ordinance adopted by the City Council earlier last year providing such a benefit for organ and tissue donors, prompted by a motion by Mayor Patrick Murphy and City Councilor Marty Lorrey.
In 2012 over 640 lives were saved here in New England because of the generosity of individuals like Shannon who became organ donors. Thousands more lives were enhanced through the gift of tissue donation. With the need for life-saving transplants growing every day – over 117,000 patients are now on the US transplant wait list – it is crucial to educate our communities about taking action to register as donors.
There are now 110 million registered donors in the United States; still, the number of people in need of transplants continues to rise.
The solution is to continue educating the public about the lifesaving effects of donation and transplantation and encouraging them to sign up through their state donor registry. The vast majority of individuals in MA (99.7%) register to be an organ and tissue donor at the state RMV. The City Council recognized RMV Registrar Rachel Kaprielian and her RMV staff for her great work supporting this program.