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Sharing stories of lives saved through organ donation

April is Donate Life Month and a ceremony was held Friday in Lackawanna County to share stories of organ donation and the lives it can change.

SCRANTON, Pa. — Green and blue balloons were hung around part of Nay Aug Park in Scranton as organizers hosted a ceremony to raise awareness of the need for organ donors.

Barbara Andricks is the hospital services coordinator in our region for the Gift of Life program and says the number of people with life-and-death organ situations is staggering.

"Here in our area, specifically Pennsylvania, there's just over 5,000 people that are on the waiting list, and as I had indicated, one in four of those individuals are going to receive a transplant. The others, unfortunately, are going to lose their lives," Andricks said.

Tony Harding is a two-time kidney recipient from Scranton. His first transplant was in 2002. After 12 years, that kidney failed. Harding says when he had to go back on the transplant list in 2014, he was worried he wouldn't get lucky twice until he got the good news.

"When I got the call for my kidney, I was floored, you know? It's a six-year wait; I waited 15 months. You celebrate the fact that someone died so I can live. It's not an easy place to be. I had a great support system. I'm happy with everything that I've done with this kidney."

Harding hopes that anyone who hears his story considers that this could happen to them or someone they love and registers to be an organ donor.

"I got lucky and there's someone out there that's trying to be lucky. But he doesn't have a match out there. So it's all about awareness. One person sees this. 'I should become an organ donor.'"

Watch Healthwatch 16 stories on YouTube.

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