SGMC and LifeLink Raise Organ Donor Awareness

Press release from the issuing company

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

This April, during the federally sanctioned National Donate Life Month, LifeLink of Georgia and South Georgia Medical Center honor the spirit of those individuals who make transplants possible—organ, tissue, and eye donors. We celebrate the lives of those who received their second chance - and finally, we call attention to the more than 123,000 - over 4,800 of whom are local men, women and children - who still wait across the United States.

Four-year-old Reese had been sick from birth and never was able to lead a “normal” life due to his ailments. Thankfully, in May 2013 his mom, Alicia, who is Reese’s number one supporter, donated one of her kidneys to save his life. Reese has gained three years of development in 14 months and is enjoying his time in preschool. He loves to dance and sing; he’ll belt out a song by his favorite artist, Alicia Keys, with a smile on his face. Reese is now able to play with his big brother and share joy with everyone he meets. “What he lacks in health and physical attributes, he makes up with his vibrant personality,” says Alicia, “He lights up any room just by being there.”

Another family touched by organ donation is the Dillard family. Jharell Dillard, a vibrant 15-year-old basketball star, was diagnosed with a severe nut allergy as a toddler. He was running errands with his mom and aunt when the typical teenage boy hunger pains struck. Jharell remembered receiving a small bag of cookies - which unknown to him contained trace amounts of nuts, causing him to go into anaphylactic shock and ultimately pass away. His father Charles says, “We endured a lifetime of pain in just a few hours. We made the decision to donate his organs and vowed to do all we could to prevent another family from experiencing our pain.” This tragic incident motivated Jharell’s family and friends to launch the Jharell R. Dillard Anaphylaxis Awareness Foundation (JRDAAF) to educate and help save the lives of other affected people. Charles says, “Through organ donation, Jharell saved seven lives. Through education, there’s no telling how many more we can save.”

Organ donation, with the primary exception of living kidney donation, takes place after death and provides the gift of life to tens of thousands each year through heart, kidney, lung, liver, pancreas or intestine transplants. Without the generosity of organ donors those waiting will die. To become a donor, sign up on Georgia’s donor registry when you renew your driver license or identification card, or visit and tell your family about your decision. 

“This month we challenge everyone to focus on the lives saved by transplantation and the continued need which grows every day in our communities,” says Kathleen Lilly, Executive Director of LifeLink of Georgia. “Please make a commitment to learn more about donation. One organ and tissue donor can help as many as 60 people. Your commitment today can make all the difference for those in desperate need.”