GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - A St. Martin couple is asking families to have the conversation about organ donation before tragedy strikes. The Pierce Allen Cartwright Community Project and Blood Drive was held in Gautier. Four-year-old Pierce Cartwright of St. Martin boy drowned in May.
The event included a booth set up by the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency where people could register as donors. Pierce's parents Matthew and Jennifer Cartwright said after being contacted by MORA they decided to donate Pierce's heart and his valves.
"Nobody wants to think about losing their loved one. No one actually wants to go through losing their loved one,"said Jennifer Cartwright. "But if it happens you can't change it. But you might give another mother some time with her children. You might give these kids a chance to grow up to be something they always wanted to be."
Mandy Wall was one of the people who registered to be a donor.
"I know a lot of children get sick and need donors," said Wall. "I have children of my own. I hope someone would take the time if my children were sick so I like to take the time for other people's children."
The event also included a blood drive and a health fair. MORA officials said there are 120,000 Americans on the waiting list for an organ transplant. The Cartwrights said their son loved helping people, and they wanted to continue helping people in his memory. They're encouraging people to have the donor conversation before tragedy happens.
Matthew Cartwright said "You're making a lot of these decisions that you've never talked about. It can be tough. The death of a loved one is already stressful and hard. To throw in another hard conversation, it's tough."
"There is approximately 120,000 people on the waiting list,"said Anna Jacobs of MORA. "In the state of Mississippi I believe there's about 1,200 Mississippians are from that waiting list."
MORA officials said 1,100 of those Mississippians are waiting for kidney transplants.