Cecil Lockhart became the oldest organ donor in America at age 95.
(CNN) – A woman recovering from a liver transplant not only has a new life-saving organ, but one that made history.
That’s thanks to Cecil Lockhart of Welch, West Virginia, who died at the age of 95 – on May 4 – making him the oldest organ donor in American history, according to the Center for Recovery. and Organ Education (CORE), which coordinated liver recovery.
The previous record for the oldest donor was 93, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing press release.
“CORE is incredibly proud to have been able to make this historic organ donation possible,” CORE President and CEO Susan Stuart said in the statement. “This milestone in the field of transplantation is just another example of CORE’s pioneering legacy and commitment to innovation, which, over the past 40 years, has given 6,000 people in the United States the opportunity to save more than 15,000 people being organ donors ”.
Inspired by your son
Lockhart’s family said they wanted to become an organ donor after their son, Stanley, healed 75 lives by donating tissue and restoring sight to two others by donating cornea after his death. in 2010.
“When my brother was a donor after he passed away a few years ago, that helped my dad heal,” said Sharon White, Lockhart’s daughter. “Today, knowing that her life continues through others is really helping us overcome our pain as well.”
Lockhart’s son-in-law, Bill Davis, told CNN that Lockhart was a generous person his entire life. He served as a corporal in the United States Army during World War II and was a coal miner for more than 50 years.
Everything he could do to help people he did. And this is just one way he will continue to help people after his time on Earth is over, “Davis said. “If we could all be like this, I think the world would be a little better place for us.”
At Lockhart’s funeral, his family asked everyone to register as an organ donor to honor his memory. Davis said some people indicated they would answer that call, inspired by Lockhart’s ability to save a life at age 95.
How to become an organ donor
While many people believe there is an age limit associated with being an organ donor, UNOS Medical Director David Klassen said no one is too old or too young to donate.
“Each potential donor is evaluated, on a case-by-case basis, at the time of death to determine which organs and tissues are suitable for donation,” Klassen said. “Cecil’s generous and historic donation is a perfect example of that.”
As of February, in the US, more than 107,000 people were waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Seventeen people die each day waiting for a transplant, according to organdonor.gov.
A donor can save up to eight lives by donating one heart, two lungs, one liver, pancreas, two kidneys, and intestines.
A CORE spokeswoman told CNN that although Lockhart was not registered as an organ donor, he was able to donate his liver because he had discussed his wishes with his family.
While expressing the desire to donate organs with the family allows someone to donate, the CORE encourages people to register as donors to ensure they can make that impact.
If you are in the US, you can do so by filling out a simple registration form, which asks for basic contact information and the last four digits of your social security number.