POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — “My health and hope, they were fading.”
These were the words of local organ transplant recipient, Kevin Scott, on Wednesday at a special ceremony held at Pleasant Valley Hospital to celebrate April as national organ donation month. PVH has held the ceremony for the last several years to highlight organ donation and, as Scott pointed out, “hope.”
Scott was the recipient of a life-saving liver transplant on Jan. 10, 2015 at The Ohio State University. After two years of fighting health issues and progressing liver disease, his transplant came just in time.
“I felt my time was running out,” Scott said about life just prior to receiving the liver.
When he did receive the liver, he told those gathered it was a “bittersweet” trip to Columbus “because I knew someone was dying to give it to me.”
After a nearly nine-hour surgery, Scott’s transplant was complete but his recovery continues with the help and support of his family.
“My family gave me the courage to fight my fight,” Scott said, adding, he owes his life to organ donation.
Also speaking at the ceremony was Brandy Barkey Sweeney who underwent a life-saving heart transplant last year at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. After developing a rare condition which caused her heart to fail during her third pregnancy, Sweeney found herself in a life-or-death situation that only a new heart could heal. She told those gathered, she was blessed because she hadn’t been sick for years, like many patients awaiting an organ transplant, and she was only on the transplant list for 31 days before her prayers were literally answered.
She said she remembered laying on the surgery table before being put under, looking up at the lights and praying thanks to God and the donor’s family.
“God was in control the entire time,” Sweeney said.
Though she said she has reached out to the donor’s family a couple of times with no answer, she understands. She explained that family is going through their “firsts”…such as their first birthday, Easter, Christmas, without their loved one. Sweeney added, because of the donor’s sacrifice, she’s had many firsts, including seeing her youngest child crawl, seeing her oldest son’s first baseball game and being there for her youngest son’s first pair of glasses.
“Inside of me, beats the heart of a hero…that’s what he (the donor) is to me,” she said. “Not only did he save me but he gave my children a mother.”
During his talk, Scott said if he could speak to his donor, he would say: “You loved me without knowing me. I wish you peace. You must know, you made my miracle come true.”
Also speaking at the event were PVH CEO Glen Washington and Pastor John Holland giving the invocation. Christy Conley from Center for Organ Recovery and Education attended as well and PPJ/SHS student Macy Adkins performed a song. Members of American Legion Post #23 raised a special organ donation flag in front of the hospital at the start of the ceremony.
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.