SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Dozens of people were honored Sunday in a special celebration of life in Scranton. More than 40 NEPA individuals who became organ, tissue, and cornea donors were honored Sunday at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel for their final acts of generosity.
On Sunday, the non-profit organization, Gift of Life, recognized some of those in the area who have saved and transformed the lives of others through organ, cornea, and tissue donation.
More than 100 donor family members were on hand for the program, including a mother and daughter who became heart transplant recipients.
“It makes my heart very happy. It’s a humbling experience. I’m so glad we are able to do this and Gift of Life donor program is allowed to do this each year,” said organ donor recipient Patti Miletta.
“I think about my donor every day, their family every day. It’s really a touching event,” organ donor recipient Sarah Miletta explained.
Gift of Life works with 126 acute care hospitals and 12 transplant centers. The organization serves 11.3 million people in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware.
Events like Sunday’s help shed light on the value of families stepping up and making the difficult decision to donate.
“There is absolutely a lot of emotion. There is so many memories that come up, fond memories of their loved ones and the time spent together, but we hope that this is a way for them to remember the good times,” said Gift of Life Donor Program Chief Clinical Officer Christine Radolovic.
One guest was there to honor her late husband who became a tissue donor in death.
“And you see the tears of joy in their eyes and it makes me realize all the more what my husband’s tissue donation was all about, you know. So, it’s a wonderful thing, It’s a process and it’s a wonderful legacy that the tissue and the organ donors also leave us,” said Marcia Rudat, the widow of a donor.
During the ceremony, handmade wraps and yellow roses were presented to donor families, highlighting the generosity and compassion of donors.
“We are appreciative for every day. Every day is a gift and we realize where those gifts come from and those are our donors and our donor families so a huge thank you always to them and to be able to come share our stories and let them see and let them know their loved ones’ legacies live on,” Patti and Sarah.
Gift of Life Donor Program has coordinated more than 2,000,000 tissue transplants and more than 58,000 life-saving organs for transplant since 1974.