WILMINGTON — City and county officials proclaimed April National Donate Life Month, encouraging residents to honor donors, educate themselves and register as organ donors.
National Donate Life Month flags will also be flown in several areas around the county, including at the Wilmington Municipal Building, Clinton County Courthouse, Clinton County Engineer’s Office on Fife Avenue in Wilmington and more, according to Shelby LaPine, mother of organ donor Luke LaPine.
Shelby LaPine said Luke LaPine’s donations have affected the lives of 75 people.
“I’m proud of them,” said Shelby LaPine, of the flags. “You hear ‘death,’ you have the grief and sometimes you feel like it’s just forgotten, but with these flags, they’re not forgotten. … They’re a hero to many people.
Shelby LaPine said the flag flies for organ donors and for those who live today because of an organ donor.
“It represents multitudes of people,” she said. “That’s why that flag is important, and I think it being underneath the American flag, where it represents your freedom, heroism – that’s where that flag should be.”
“It’s difficult, but yet we’re here to celebrate the lives that were saved because of selfless donations people made,” Commissioner Mike Curry said. “To all the families here today that have loved ones that they lost, thank you for having those contributions made on their behalf to save lives around Ohio and all over the nation.”
Curry and fellow Commissioners Kerry Steed and Pat Haley’s proclamation, and a similar one read by Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth, recognized the life-saving power of organ donation and the healing power of tissue and blood donations.
“This is such a sad thing but yet such a blessing what this family has done,” said Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth. “And it’s my honor to do this proclamation.”
In his proclamation, Stanforth said there are more than 123,000 people in the U.S., including 3,400 Ohioans, waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.
“Every 48 hours, an Ohioan dies waiting for his or her transplant,” Stanforth read. “A single donor can save up to eight lives through organ donations.”
Stanforth said organ donors and their families “are heroes. Their selfless choice to give the gift of life, often made in the darkest of hours, offers hope and a second chance to a recipient as well as those families and friends who are deeply affected by the possibility keeping their loved ones in their life.”
Stanforth also honored Andrea Tacoronte, a living donor, as well as his own son.
“It’s so hard,” he said. “But it’s a blessing.”
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.