April is Organ Donation Awareness Month and CVMC Radiation Therapist, Betty
Fore knows first hand the meaning of the “gift of life.” Her
brother, Pastor Bill Bigham of Boger City Baptist Church, has been doing
great since receiving the gift of a kidney by transplant surgery at NC
Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem on New Year’s Eve in 2013. His
donor, Stephanie Stanley isn’t a member of Bill’s church or
a relative. She read about Bill’s need for a kidney in her church
prayer list and felt led to give up one of her kidneys to Bill.
“Bill is my only sibling and he desperately needed a kidney transplant
after dialysis gradually became a less effective treatment for Bill’s
renal failure,” said Betty. “Becoming an organ donor is beyond
important. I never thought about it myself until I was in a situation
firsthand watching my brother’s life deteriorate and fade.”
Betty and 14 other potential donors were willing to donate one of their
kidneys to Bill, but one by one, none of them panned out as a match or
viable candidate for medical reasons. So, members of Bill’s congregation
and other area churches put him on their prayer list and one day he received
a call from a complete stranger, Stephanie Stanley. She had learned of
his condition and wanted to help.
“After that conversation, Stephanie started the process and I heard
nothing for a year,” said Bill. “It was radio silence.”
Unbeknownst to Bill, Stephanie had been enduring a barrage of tests and
filling out all of the forms for the application process at Wake Forest
Baptist Medical Center where the rigorous process involves strict protection
to ensure the best health results for both an organ donor and recipient.
Choosing to remain anonymous or allowing a recipient to know the donor’s
identity is totally up to the donor.
After being on the kidney transplant wait list almost 3 years, Stephanie
gave Pastor Bigham the greatest gift he could have received. This once
total stranger became his living donor. Prior to his transplant he was
on fluid restrictions, and took multiple blood pressure medications but
now lives without those medications or the need for any restrictions.
Pastor Bigham and Betty now consider Stephanie their sister and will be
eternally thankful for her gift of life.
organ donor.gov, in 2015, approximately 30,000 patients in the U.S. were given a second
chance at living because someone took the step to become an organ donor.
Each day, about 79 people receive organ transplants. However, 22 people
die each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because
of the shortage of donated organs.
On Friday, April 1st at 9:15am CVMC held the second annual flag raising
ceremony in recognition of
National Donate Life Month. The ceremony took place at the flagpole in front of the main entrance
and Pastor Bill Bigham lead the group in prayer. The flag will remain
for the month of April with a special day of attention being National
Donate Life Blue and Green Day on Friday, April 15th. To learn more or
to become a donor, visit
donate life.com and put your name on the Donate Life NC Online Registry. In doing so,
you consent to having your organs, eyes/corneas and/or tissue made available
for transplantation upon death.