Organ recipient encourages others to donate life

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (WDTV)-- According to the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE), 20 people die every day while on the organ transplant list.

Wendell Ladner is a proud recipient who's life was saved by his donor.

"I woke up one day and as we say down south 'the light was on, but nobody was home," said Ladner.

As the flag for National Donate Life Month was raised at the Mon Health Medical Center, the hospital raises awareness to remind people that they can help save a life just like Ladner's.

"What you see behind me is a quilt that is made by the donor families. It's really about, not just promoting organ donation, but supporting those who are involved in the process," said Daphne Scordato, the Chief Nursing Officer at Mon Health.

Nationally, 114,000 people are currently on a waiting list for an organ transplant. Ladner was once on that list, in need of a liver.

"After two hospitals and two tests, I got on a transplant list. Fortunate for me, I went on the list on a Monday and I got a call on Friday," said Ladner.

Ladner tells his story while holding a picture of his donor in hand. He honors him and his parents every day.

"His mom and dad had the decision to make, whether to donate his organs or not. Thank god for me, they did," said Ladner.

According to CORE 8 people can be saved by one person's generous donation.

"A new name is added to the transplant list about every 10 minutes," said Scordato.

"I'm living proof of a recipient of a gracious gift," said Ladner.

Ladner thanks his donor for giving him the chance to live a healthy life he may not have had otherwise.

"I hurt for you, but Tyler thank you. You have saved my life."

Many hospitals will fly the Donate Life flag throughout the month to honor those touched by donation and transplantation.