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The Gift of Life

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. - University of the Cumberlands recently welcomed the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) to the Gatliff Chapel. This was an informational lecture with a presentation about giving “The Gift of Life,” by Ms. Charlotte Wong, education coordinator for KODA.

Over 95,000 Americans are registered on the United Network for Organ Sharing waiting list for donated organs; 750 of those are from Kentucky. Every 14 minutes a new name is added to the waiting list, and every year an estimated 3,000 people die waiting for an organ transplant. The organs that can be transplanted are kidney, heart, liver, lung, pancreas and small bowel. Age is not a factor when it comes to donations.

Victoria Wright, a freshman at University of the Cumberlands, spoke about her sister Madison Wright. Madison was a student at the University of the Cumberlands who received a heart when she was 15 years old. Victoria said, “I had six more years with my sister after the transplant.” Madison passed away last summer when she was only 21 years old.

Linda Toy spoke about her own experience with receiving a double lung transplant seven years ago, in St. Louis, Missouri. The lungs donated to her came from a 24-year-old. She said she would not have been here today if it wasn’t for that donor. Since her transplant she has been blessed with more and more great years with her husband and two sons. She has had the opportunity to travel to the Grand Canyon and carry the 2002 Olympic Torch in honor of her donor.

Brook Blackburn, a freshman at University of the Cumberlands, had some input on “The Gift of Life.” She said, “One of my close family friends and my uncle received a liver transplant after being on the waiting list for over four years. They were very blessed that people were gracious enough to be organ donors. Without their transplants they would not be living today.”

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University of the Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, is a private liberal arts college in its 118th year of operation. Cumberlands offers four undergraduate degrees in 37 major fields of study, 30 minors and nine pre-professional programs, graduate degrees and certifications in education as well as online programs.