Family raises organ donation awareness after losing daughter - - The News for South Mississippi

Family raises organ donation awareness after losing daughter

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Brittany DuVernay-Saucier Brittany DuVernay-Saucier

A Gulfport family is among those telling their story to help the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA) spread awareness about organ and tissue donation. September 2011, 26 year old Brittany DuVernay-Saucier died from a head injury after falling from a golf cart. Afterwards, four people received her lungs, liver and kidneys.

After losing her daughter in a tragic accident, Ellen DuVernay said the family was faced with a difficult decision at the hospital--should they donate Brittany's organs. Then they found out she had already made the decision herself by registering to be a donor.

"It did make it easier. I think we would have done it anyway, but it did make it easier knowing we're following through with Brittany's wishes," said Ellen DuVernay.

Brittany's lungs went to Nancy Lee of Dallas, a 54-year-old woman who Ellen DuVernay said had been long suffering from a debilitating illness.

Ellen DuVernay said, "Nancy went from barely being able to walk from her bed to her sofa to dancing in her kitchen."

A week and a half ago, Ellen DuVernay got to meet the woman who Brittany gave a second chance at life. Now the two families have become life long friends.

"My younger daughter Kourtney and I flew to Dallas to meet them and just hugging Nancy knowing that she was a recipient. She was a double lung recipient," Ellen DuVernay said. "Hugging her and knowing she would not have been standing there was just amazing."

Brittany DuVernay-Saucier left behind a husband and a young daughter. Her family wants her life to inspire others to help save lives by signing up to be organ and tissue donors.

"Brittany made us so proud the 26 years we were blessed with her and she's still making us proud," said Ellen DuVernay. "We didn't only help the four recipients that received her organs, but when you think of your family and you multiply that by four, think about how many people Brittany made possible to continue on. To be able to continue to celebrate the greatest gift of life."

To help spread awareness, the DuVernay family is sponsoring an organ and tissue donor drive next Saturday and Sunday at St Thomas Catholic Church in Long Beach. Both Ellen DuVernay and transplant recipient Nancy Lee will be speaking about the importance of registering. DuVernay said she will speak at the 5 pm Mass on Saturday and at all of the Sunday services. 

Anna Jacobs of the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency said, "There is nothing more genuine and more important than seeing the actual family members whose lives have been directly been touched by donation. Whether it be a donor family or a recipient family. "

"They are the face of our mission and there are no words that can be spoken that are as precious as our families speak," said Jacobs.

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