Looking For a Few (Thousand) Good Donors

If you pass by Hartford Hospital this month, you might notice the "Donate Life" flag flying out front. It's part of a month-long campaign to raise awareness on how important it is to register to donate your organs.

If you are on the fence about it, David Yish of Oxford and Peter Kudzak, of Colchester, might change your mind.

Yish said he almost died two years ago, at age 40. Then, the hospital came through with a heart transplant.

Now, he says, he appreciates every day with his 11-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter.

"The second chance at life really means seeing my daughter grow from a young girl into a young woman and watching my son still play some Little League sports," Yish said.

Yish and Kudzak teamed up to raise the flag.

Right now, about 1,000 people in Connecticut need an organ transplant and there are 100,000 people throughout the country.

Kudzak also knows about organ transplants well; but he's on the other side of the coin.

"I'm a donor dad. My daughter, Jessica Marie, gave the gift of life to four strangers in New York City after suffering a severe asthma attack," Kudzak said.

Kudzak's daughter died at age 21.

She donated her heart, pancreas, liver and both kidneys to four people in New York City.

Doctors at Hartford Hospital said only 36 percent of the state's licensed drivers are registered. They hope the flag will remind people to register.

Kudzak said it helps to know that something good can come out of something so tragic.

"Unfortunately, tragedies like this happen and Jessica was a registered donor at age 21 when she got her New York City driver's license and I'm so proud of her for that," Kudzak said.

For more information on how you can sign up, visit organdonor.gov

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