OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - After losing their young son in a drowning accident, Matthew and Jennifer Cartwright are trying to spare another mother and father that unspeakable pain. The Jackson County parents donated their son's organs and have now become advocates for organ donation.
In May 2013, Pierce Cartwright lost his life. His parents remember a four-year-old who always had a smile.
"Full of life. Mischievous, fun," Matthew Cartwright said. "The thing I remember the most is that he loved to help."
Pierce's parents decided to help others by donating his organs. Matthew and Jennifer Cartwright were among dozens of people gathered outside Ocean Springs Hospital on Tuesday for a balloon release for National Donate Life Month. The Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency is partnering with hospitals across the state.
"In our state alone, Mississippi has around 1,300 on the waiting list, waiting to receive organ and tissue donation," said Heath Thompson of Singing River Health System. "That number is 120,000 nationwide. So the more awareness and the more opportunities for our community to be involved and make a difference, I think, gives an impact to the overall program. Because the recent statistics I saw was 10 people die every day waiting on an organ donation."
The Cartwrights said through organ donation, good can come from sorrow.
"The balloons signifying all the people who are affected was good to visually see because you hear the numbers, but sometimes it doesn't tangibly click until you can actually see it," said Matthew Cartwright. "All those other balloons were flying together and it shows the power one person can have on others and how it just multiplies."
Jennifer Cartwright said, "Our hope is through going through this, through working with MORA maybe we can give a mother more time with her child, maybe we can give a husband more time with his wife, and that's what organ donation is about. It's about helping give life to others."
Eight other hospitals in our state are also working with the MORA to promote organ and tissue donation awareness.
"We had a horrible experience, tragedy in our family, and working with MORA and helping to raise awareness has given us some sunshine, a little ray of light that something good is coming from this and that's extremely important to us," said Matthew Cartwright.