SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – When Curtis Clemons passed away in early October, Mercy Health’s Springfield Regional Medical Center honored him for his gift of life.
Clemons, 45, suffered with COPD with several years before his death. At one point, doctors told him he’d likely need a lung transplant because of the disease.
Learning more than 115,000 people in the U.S. are on the organ transplant list motivated him to become an organ donor himself.
“He kept thinking he would die waiting for a lung,” His fiancee Gloria Mongold said. “Now four other people… they don’t have to wait like that anymore.”
Clemons died in early October and surgeons were able to transplant his heart, kidneys and liver into other patients.
As a nod to his sacrifice, staff at the Springfield Hospital orchestrated an Honor Walk.
“With Curtis we weren’t able to help him get better, but we were able to help other people get better,” explained Drue Adams, the manager of the Mercy Health Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.
During the Honor Walk, any available doctors, nurses and other staff lined the hallway between the Intensive Care Unit and the operating room to show their respects.
“It was amazing,” Mongold said.
Stephanie Burianek, the Hospital and Media Liason for Life Connection of Ohio added, “It’s the ultimate gift and we have to honor that someone made that selfless decision to be an organ donor.”
Every day, 20 people die waiting for an organ transplant. Mongold said the grief of losing her fiance was softened by knowing he helped others.
“You’re losing someone, but you are helping another family not lose,” she said. “You’re helping another family not have to go through that grief.”
Life Connection of Ohio helped facilitate Clemons’s organ donation. The organization promotes organ donation in Northwest and West Central Ohio and says become a donor is a powerful gift.
Here’s how to become an organ donor:
- Sign up at the BMV: Register to be a donor when you apply for or renew your driver’s license or state I.D.
- Register online: Click here to register.
- Fill out an enrollment form: Mail in a form available at the BMV
You can learn more about Life Connection and organ donation here.