Giving the gift of life

Photo submitted by Tracy Taitt Jeremy and Tracy Taitt are both members of MOV Gift of Life. Two years ago, Jeremy donated his kidney to Tracy.

Many of the members of MOV Gift of Life have received that gift–in the form of a donated organ. Others have given it. And all the members have more to give, said president Tracy Taitt.

The nonprofit organization is busy raising funds in order to provide financial assistance to those connected to the organ transplant process. Applications are online and those interested can apply now, said Taitt.

Question: What is the MOV Gift of Life?

Answer: We formed the group in 2017 and we’re a nonprofit 501c3. We’re a group of local organ transplant recipients, living donors, people waiting for a donor and people who care deeply about the cause of organ donation. We’re all local people. Our mission is educating the community about the critical need for people to register to be organ, tissue and eye donors. We also raise funds to help people receiving a transplant or on the waiting list and living donors with travel and prescription medications. We give $1,000 per calendar year. It’s so expensive to travel to appointments. Most local people are being treated at the Cleveland Clinic, or OSU, some in Pittsburgh. So, we’re here for financial support. Applications are online at movgiftoflife.com

Q: How many people has the group been able to help so far?

A: So, far we’ve helped one person. We’ve been raising funds and growing our bank account. We cover an area of 13 counties in Ohio and nine in West Virginia.

Q: What was the medical situation of the person you’ve helped?

A: A heart transplant. That was someone who lives in Fairfield County.

Q: How do you raise money?

A: We do two fundraisers a year. We have our Cabin Fever party every April and an MOV Gift of Life 5K Walk/Run that will be coming up on Oct. 20. People can sign up at runsignup.com or there are links on our Facebook page and website or race forms are at Ketel 1 in Marietta. You get a free T-shirt if you sign up by Oct. 6. The run starts at the aquatic center and the cost is $15. We’re also still looking for sponsors and volunteers.

Q: You said MOV Gift of Life is comprised of people in several different categories related to organ donation. Which one applies to you?

A: I am a kidney recipient. It’s been two years now. My husband gave me his kidney and it ended up being on my birthday, too, which was really special.

Almost every member has received an organ, given one, is on the waiting list or has been touched by organ donation. We all feel very passionate about it, knowing that people need help. One organ donor can save up to eight lives.

Q: Were you always an advocate for organ donation or was your own transplant a learning experience for you?

A: I’ve always been an organ donor. I just never knew I would need an organ.

Q: Did you have the same struggle with expenses and travel that so many others do?

A: I did, and I had to do the fundraising myself. I always said I would pay it forward, pay it back. With it being both my husband and I having surgery, we were both off from work for quite some time. It was difficult.

Q: As you’re promoting awareness of this issue, what do you find to be the biggest barrier people have to becoming an organ donor?

A: A lot of people say they have this illness, this medical condition or they’re too old. Anyone can sign up.

Q: Obviously, you can become an organ donor when you get your drivers license. Are there other ways for local people to register?

A: They can register at donatelife.net or at their local BMV. Also, if they have an iPhone, they can go to their health app and really quickly sign up through the app.

Kate York conducted this interview.

Tracy Taitt

¯ Age: 41.

¯ Residence: Marietta.

¯ Family: Husband, Jeremy; two daughters, ages 12 and 15.

¯ Occupation: marketing.

For information about MOV Gift of Life

¯ movgiftoflife.com

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