Health & Wellness

YMCA Achievers Learn About the Gift of a Lifetime in Plainfield

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PLAINFIELD, NJ - Last Wednesday at the Achievers’ weekly workshop at the Plainfield YMCA, over 30 students had the opportunity to learn firsthand about one of New Jersey’s life-saving organizations, NJ Sharing Network.

Located in New Providence, NJ Sharing Network has been saving and enhancing lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation for 30 years.

Community Volunteer Coordinator, Veronica Horvath and Keath Gerald, Community Educator and a former Plainfield High School graduate, walked the students through the organ donation process, from the wait list to transplantation.

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Gerald shared his personal story of organ need after being diagnosed with life threatening heart disease during his college years and being placed on the waiting list. After numerous hospital stays, complications and medical procedures, he received both a heart and liver transplant in August 2015. Within nine months, he was able to resume his normal activities and went on to participate in sports competitions.

  • Approximately 120,000 people in NJ are currently awaiting organs
  • Currently approximately 80 local Plainfield residents are in need of organs
  • 65% of NJ residents awaiting organs are minorities
  • Every 3 days, a NJ resident will die waiting for a transplant
  • Only 1 % of deaths become organ donors
  • 8 lives can be saved by one organ donor

In addition to becoming an organ donor, Achievers were also provided information packets outlining the many volunteer opportunities with the NJ Sharing Network, including Community Outreach, office volunteering, and speaking programs in schools. As a part of the Achievers program, students are required to complete community service.

For more information regarding the NJ Sharing Network, please visit their website at www.NJSharingNetwork.org.

The YMCA Achievers Program is a partnership between the Westfield Y, Scotch Plains/Fanwood Y and the Plainfield Y, and provides mentoring and college readiness for minority students grades 8 thru 12. For more information, please contact:  Nadya Lawrence at nlawrence@westfieldynj.org.

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