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Ceremony honors organ donors

Memorials stones placed outside chapel

Family and friends of 15 organ donors gathered outside of a small chapel at Lincoln Medical Center to honor their loved ones Tuesday.
They stood in the cold November air as the wind blew and songs were sung Each donor had their name etched in a memorial stone, which was placed outside chapel.
“They made a choice so someone could not only have a life, but even have a better life,” said Jerry Goodman, a volunteer chaplain at LMC.
Goodman told the crowd about a close friend who had lived a life of struggle until he received a transplant operation.
“He’s living a brand new life,” said Goodman. “His life is fresh and renewed.”

Sharon Lineberger (right), a human resources assistant at Lincoln Medical Center, honored her husband, an organ donor, at a ceremony held at a chapel outside of the hospital. Josh Davis / LTN Photos

Every day 15 people who are on transplant waiting lists die. Every 16 minutes another person joins a waiting list, Goodman said.
Many of those who attended the ceremony quietly wiped away tears. Some spoke about the people they had lost.
Monica Markolf talked about her father who died unexpectedly in June. She described him as a tremendous man of God who affected many people.
“He is now still changing lives even after his death,” said Markolf.
The fact that her father became an organ donor helped her heal after his death, she said. She also commended Life Share of the Carolinas, an organization that handles organ donation.
“These folks worked tirelessly and diligently, and in the end we experienced an amazing peace,” she said.
The testimony of someone who had received an organ donation was also heard.
Cynthia Williams, a recipient of an organ donation, explained just how important it was to her life.
She first noticed that she had lost vision in one eye when looking through a photo lens on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The condition had been caused by steroid drops used to treat pink eye. After receiving a cornea transplant her sight was returned.
Because she was in the hospital and could not be there, Billy Marsh, executive director of Communities in Schools, read her testimony.
“The gift that was given to Cynthia is a gift that will be perpetuated for years to come,” said Marsh.
Not all the 15 organ donors acknowledged at the ceremony had speeches read in their honor, but every one had their name read as a loved one placed flowers near their memorial stone.
Many people who attended the ceremony wore hospital scrubs or LMC identification tags.
“We all know this is a hard time and a tough time,” said Goodman.

Memorial graves with the names of 15 organ donors (below) were set outside the chapel. Josh Davis / LTN Photos
by Sarah Grano

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