During last night's heart-wrenching candlelight vigil, Dmitriy Bolgar, the father of Central Street fire victim Kate Bolgar, revealed his daughter gave the gift of life to three others through organ donation.
Bolgar said Kate's liver went to a 1-year-old girl, and her kidneys went to two others in a life-saving gesture that will allow his daughter to live on through those who received these precious gifts.
For a family that already has been through so much, to make the decision to donate organs is nothing short of divine.
According to the Organ Donor Network, at any point in time, more than 119,000 people in the United States are awaiting organ transplants. On average, 18 people die every day while on the nationwide waiting list. Furthermore, a new name is added to this list every 10 minutes.
The Organ Donor Network notes that the factors that determine who receives an organ include severity of illness, time spent on the waiting list and blood type. Financial or celebrity status has no bearing on determining who receives a transplant.
As our society ages and childhood diseases become more prevalent, the need for organ donations increases exponentially.
That's why it is imperative that we all register as organ donors.
In West Virginia, when motorists renew their driver's license, they are asked if they would like to become a donor. Those who register for this option through the department of Motor Vehicles receive a license that designates them as donors.
Another way to register is through www.organdonor.gov. This site allows users to select their home state and specify organ donation desires.
There are many other ways to register, including at hospitals and with individual organizations like the National Kidney Foundation.
Last week's fire had a tremendous impact on our community.
As equally touching as the outpouring of support from local residents is the family's decision to give the gift of life in light of this immense personal tragedy. This gesture of kindness is absolutely beyond words.
This disaster should serve as a reminder of the importance of organ donation and giving the miracle of life to another in times of misfortune.
No one wants to think of their own mortality, but giving another a new lease on life not only honors those we leave behind, but also those who anxiously await these all-to-rare gifts.