CHOP Event Highlights Importance of Organ Donation

Justin Udo
April 09, 2018 - 1:55 pm
Danielle Benscoter and Tyler

Photo credit: Justin Udo

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Gift of Life Donor Program are making a push to increase awareness about the need for lifesaving organ donations.

In 2014, Marquis Wood had an asthma attack and went into cardiac arrest.

"While we sat in the hospital for a couple of days we decided to donate his organs," said Marquis' mother, Makarita. 

Makarita says that decision saved the lives of three other children.

"He was able to donate his heart, his kidney and his liver," she said.

During an event Monday to kick off Donate Life Month at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Makarita talked about the importance of being a donor, and how it could may potentially help one of the 75 kids on the donor waiting list at the hospital.

"Organ donation saves lives," she said. "So just get educated."

Makarita says donating her son's organs helped more than just the recipients and their families.

"I'm just a proud donor mom," she said, "and just glad that I did decided to donate organs, because it gives me a lot of comfort in my grief process."

And Markita says it's amazing to see her son live on through others.

"To see his heart recipient playing basketball and football and running 5k's with his heart, it just brings a smile to my face everyday," she said.

Danielle Benscoter also attended the event. Her 5-year-old son Tyler was born with a heart defect.

"We were living here in the hospital," she said, "just waiting for him to get this transplant."

After receiving a new heart, Tyler is now playing T-ball, and living life like an average kid.

"It's really given our whole family a sense of normalcy that we didn't have prior to the transplant," Benscoter said.

She also spoke at Monday's event about how being an organ donor can impact so many lives for the better.

"If you become an organ donor, it can actually sort of spawn a whole lot of hope for another person," Benscoter said, "or multiple people and their families and their futures."

Benscoter says her family is forever thankful to Tyler's donor.

"It gives me so much joy and happiness that I can't even really describe," she said. "It really opens up a whole new very bright future for him and for our whole family."

During Donate Life Month, the Transplant Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is celebrating the generosity of people who choose to become organ donors by telling the stories of lives they impacted.

Officials at CHOP say organ donations from one person can potentially help save the lives of seven people.