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St. Luke’s raises special flag to honor organ donor

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Organ donation changes lives.

That’s what at least two people in the Philadelphia metropolitan area have experienced thanks to the selfless act of a Pennsburg woman who made her organ donation wishes clear to her caregivers and family last year before her death.

And she wanted the donation to be completed at St. Luke’s Quakertown Hospital, making it the first organ donation completed in Quakertown.

“There is no greater service,” said Dennis Pfleiger, St. Luke’s Quakertown Campus president.

In conjunction with National Donate Life Month, officials at St. Luke’s Quakertown Campus remembered Carmen Carhart and honored her family by raising a commemorative flag on April 25. The flag was raised at a special event outside the hospital on Park Avenue in Quakertown.

Carhart, 53, died Dec. 19. Her kidneys were donated to two recipients and her liver and lungs were donated for research purposes, a St. Luke’s University Health Network press release said.

Whether serving others through matching tissue or organ donation or allowing organ and tissue donations to serve research purposes, organ donors both save and change lives.

Pfleiger said Carhart “…left a legacy for many people, and she got to be the world to two people” beyond the family that loved her.

“Carmen made a huge change and she is continuing to be a part of our community,” Pfleiger said.

According to the Donate Life America website, roughly 114,000 people are waiting for organ transplants, and every 10 minutes a new person is added to the waiting list.

“One organ and tissue donor can impact 75 people,” said Susan Koomar, regional community relations coordinator at Gift of Life in Allentown.

According to the Donate Life website, anyone can become an organ and tissue donor and the donation is evaluated based upon the medical condition at the time of death.

There is no cost to become an organ donor, and there is no cost once the donation takes place, the website said.

Being an organ donor does not impact patient care, funeral arrangements or interfere with the preparation of the body prior to burial or cremation.

“And you don’t have to wait until your driver’s license expires to become an organ donor,” Koomar said.

For information, or to become an organ or tissue donor, visit donatelife.net.


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