North Dakota Honors Families of Organ Donors


Families of organ donors were celebrated at the state capitol today in honor of National Donate Life Month.

33 donor families who were part of giving a lifesaving gift were presented with a donor medal of honor by Governor Doug Burgum and the first lady.

An emotional yet rewarding ceremony honored families touched by donation. 

“My husband had a chronic lung disease and he was waiting for a lung transplant and he never got his transplant but he was able to donate to someone else,” said Deborah Moltzan, wife of Gerald Moltzan.

December 12th is the day Deborah Moltzan will never forget. That’s the day her husband Gerald passed away. Leaving behind 5 children and 12 grandchildren.  But parts of him live on. 

“My husband was an eye and tissue donor and we found out that his eyes were transplanted,” said Moltzan. 

The Moltzan family is just one of many that lost a family member. But through donation, these families can heal.

“It’s tough to lose a child but it is heartfelt to see the lives of the recipients that they help,” said Renae Roney, North Dakota resident.

Each day 17 people die waiting for a transplant and a new name is added to the transplant waiting list every 10 minutes. Which is why health professionals urge you to help save a life. 

“Right now there are over 3,000 people waiting today for a life-saving organ transplant just in the upper midwest. So, those in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. There is a huge need because there are many more patients who are awaiting a transplant then there are donated organs available,” said Susan Gunderson, Chief Executive Director Officer of LifeSource.

As for Moltzan, in memory of her husband, she is now an advocate for organ donation. 

“I’m hoping to get the word out that the grandkids will also become organ donors. I know that most of my kids are,” said Moltzan.

Remember organ donations happen because people register. You can register online through the department of transportation click here. You can also register by checking the box on your driver’s license or state ID. 

One person can heal up to 75 lives through organ and tissue donation.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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