Mercer Service Scholar hosts event to raise awareness for organ donation

Every 85 minutes a person in need of an organ transplant dies. Service Scholar Alexandra Himes is focusing her senior project on the need for registered organ donors. Her project is called “BEARing the Gift of Life” and is aimed to raise awareness.

“One of the most effective solutions to the lack of organ donations is increased awareness. Last semester, Dr. Mary Ann Drake took my passion for organ donation and helped me transform it into my event BEARing the Gift of Life,” said Himes. “In an effort to reach out to the Mercer student body and faculty, we developed my senior project as a way to educate the Mercer community about this national issue.

“This senior project represents the culmination of my commitment as a Service Scholar. I have been given so many wonderful opportunities through this program at Mercer and I am finally able to give back to my school and community,” said Himes. “I would not be planning and executing this event if not for the help and support of Dr. Chris Grant and Dr. Mary Ann Drake.”

Himes hopes for Mercer students to learn that they are a part of the solution by simply learning about organ donation and, hopefully, registering as an organ donor. The waiting list for organ candidates is growing as well as the need for organ donors. As of 2013, the list consisted of 121,605 candidates.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that, “right now, there are more than enough people waiting for an organ to fill a large football stadium twice over.”

“The purpose of this project is to raise awareness and to increase education about the major gap between supply and demand of organs in America on Mercer University’s campus,” said Himes.

At the end of Himes’s freshmen year, Grant, assigned his Service Scholars class an essay which Himes used as inspiration for her senior project. “He asked us to address a major problem in today’s society and to provide three solutions. I chose organ donation. At the time, this was a topic I was interested in mainly because of my goal to pursue a career in the medical field,” said Himes. “Over the next two years, organ donation stayed with me and gradually became the inspiration for my Service Scholar senior project.”

The event will allow participants to visit booths where they will learn about different aspects of organ donation such as surprising statistics, common myths and parts of the body that can be donated. There will also be games, cookie decorating and music.

Himes encourages those who are already registered organ donors to still attend the event so they can continue to spread information and awareness on organ donors as well as encourage those they know to register.

“All of the students and faculty on this campus bear the gift of life. By registering as organ donors, they will be committing to give that gift, their organs, to people who could potentially die without it,” said Himes.

The event will be hosted on Cruz Plaza on March 27 from 2-5 p.m.