Herrin Hospital Recognized for Role in Organ Transplants
Herrin Hospital received a Gift of Life medal from Mid America Transplant on Tuesday in recognition of the hospital's role in life-saving organ transplants.
Brenda Dryer, of Marion, was a kidney recipient in 2006, after an autoimmune disease caused her kidneys to fail. Her family was tested and her daughter was a possible match, but at 14 was too young to donate.
Her donor kidney came from a firefighter in New York. Eventually, Dryer met her donor's wife who she now considers a part of her family.
"When we finally met, it was such, I didn't know what to expect but she was so nice and kind and she said 'we're family' and we are," Dryer said.
She carries a picture of her donor with her every day, Dryer said, and hopes his wife will be able to visit her family this year.
Jonathan Cantrell and Jana Cantrell helped make the decision to donate their sister Jessica's organs after she passed as a result of an accident.
Jessica was a senior at SIU in 2008 when she was injured in a motorcycle crash and suffered severe brain damage. When she passed away in 2019, her family donated her kidneys, which went to two different patients.
Jonathan Cantrell said his sister had registered as an organ donor, which made their decision easier. He encourages other families to choose organ donation, even those dealing with a sudden and unexpected death.
"I would understand if you're having difficulty making the decision," Cantrell said. "But I would say please do it. You may be the one, one day, that is need of an organ. And what lengths would you be willing to go if the roles were reversed, and you needed an organ to spend another day, week, year, or decade with your loved ones?"
Mid America Transplant presented the award to the hospital. The organization's 122 hospitals counted more than 270 organ donors and more than 2-thousand 4-hundred tissue donors in 2020.