Wyoming Receives Gold Medal for Donor Efforts

Jeff Schuman reports, jschuman@k2tv.com

Donor Alliance presents Wyoming a gold medal for high numbers registered to be an organ and tissue donor.

11 years ago Pat Ling lost her husband to a tragic car accident. Because of a little check in the box, his tissue helped save hundreds of lives.

"He was always a caregiver in life and I have to smile to myself often because he was certainly a caregiver in his death," donor family member Pat Ling said.

Tragedy struck again when Pat's 31 year-old daughter Holly, who was nine months pregnant, died. A check in the box resulted in Holly's corneas going to a little girl in Mexico.

"I hope that she sees as clearly and as happily as Holly did."

People are in need of a lifesaving transplant all throughout the nation.

"In the service area that Donor Alliance covers, which is Colorado and Wyoming, there's over 2,000 people who are waiting right now today for a transplant," president & CEO of Donor Alliance Sue Dunn said.

Wyoming had the fifth highest donor designation rate in the U.S. with 59% of residents joining the Donate Life registry. As a result, Wyoming became one of six states to receive a gold medal from Donate Life America.

"It's people that check that box; it's the people that volunteer or are willing to do this," WYDOT driver services manager Don Edington said.

For Pat, it's the giving that has gotten her through the grieving.

"Without hope, and without giving hope to people, it would be devastating to me to try to heal from death.