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Through Death, Four People Have New Lease On Life

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DURHAM, N.C. — There are 25,000 organ tranplants a year in this country, but every day, 16 people on transplant waiting lists die. But, the death of one man saved four lives.

Almost eight years ago in Richmond, Va., a mentally ill man shot 21-year-old Carey Hughley III.

"He was a believer with a vision," said Alice Hughley, Carey's mother.

Hughley recently told her family's story at Duke Medical Center in Durham. As her son neared death, her family faced the decision about allowing Carey to donate his organs. There was no living will or organ donor card, but Carey's sister knew.

"She said, 'Momma, I know Carey wanted his organs donated,' and that was all that she had to say at the time," Hughley said.

The first thing the Hughleys thought about was a woman in their own church who said she needed a kidney. She did not have long to live and she knew of another woman in her sister's church in Hampton, Va., who needed a kidney. As fate would have it, Carey was a match for both of them.

Other organs helped two others on the transplant waiting list, but it is the woman who they sit next to every Sunday who they know best.

Mary Lyon has one of Carey Hughley's kidneys. She is happy to know her donor's family and is committed to helping them promote the gift of life for others.

"I'm so thankful. I'm sorry the way it happened, but God is good," Lyon said. "I have so much to be thankful for and please help the next one."

It is not enough to indicate on your driver's license that you are an organ donor.

Carolina Donor Services

makes an Organ Donor Card available at no charge. It can be signed in the presence of two witnesses, preferably family members. It is a legal document that you carry with you at all times.


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