Across China: Philanthropic organ donors commemorated by recipients
CHONGQING, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Jiang Huan didn't understand her father's decision to donate his organs until an organ donation coordinator told her that the transplantation surgery was successful and helped save the patient's life.
Every Tomb-sweeping Day, or the Qingming Festival in the Chinese lunar calendar, which falls on Tuesday this year, families of organ donors and the recipients and coordinators gather at the Chongqing Organ Donation Memorial Park in Bishan District of southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. Holding commemorative ceremonies and laying wreaths in solemnity, they pay tribute to the departed for their generosity and philanthropic decision.
"Hearing that one life was saved due to my father's donation, I realized the greatness of his heart and the true meaning of life," Jiang said. "It feels like his life was extended, and he would continue to accompany me with no more goodbye."
In 2010, China officially launched a national pilot program for human organ donation, which gave rise to numerous donation coordinators like Zhou Lijuan.
With her mobile phone available 24 hours day and night, Zhou gets used to rushing to hospitals whenever there are any potential organ donation intentions.
"We are often misunderstood, rejected, and even cursed by the family members. But a rush of scenes of agonizing patients waiting for organ transplantation opportunities always come to my mind first," said Zhou. She added that the eagerness in the patients' eyes motivated her over the years to stand up for her duty.
"It's not how much time you have but how you use it that matters," said a card from a donor's family presented at the memorial park.
A decade ago, Wan Ying, a patient with near blindness due to marginal corneal degeneration, received a corneal transplant thanks to a deceased donor. "I was in urgent need of a suitable cornea, and my family was almost desperate at that time. I was lucky to be given the priority of receiving the transplant as one of my family members was a registered cadaver and cornea donor in 2005."
Now, Wan is thankful for every moment of life and tries her best to enjoy the happiness of being alive with her loved ones. "The donor in my family is observing the world in the body of the organ recipient, and so is the donor of my new cornea," she said.
Since Chongqing gave the green light to cornea donation in 1980 and started work on human organ donation in 2012, the city has registered donations of 4,929 bodies, 817 organs, and 2,896 corneas.
Zhang Qi, an ophthalmologist at the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, said that the Chongqing Eye Bank recorded more than 2,700 corneal donations, helping more than 3,300 patients recover their sight.
"Though the figure is still far from enough to meet the mounting need of patients, I believe that more will get involved in the benevolent undertaking and bring hope and light to those suffering from the darkness," Zhang noted.
In recent years, organ donation and transplantation are gaining steam in China, allowing those with organ failure to start anew. As of April 2, more than 4.62 million people had signed up for organ donation, noted data released on the China Organ Donation Administrative Center website.