Vermonters got a reminder Thursday of the value of the "gift of life" at a ceremony at the Statehouse in Montpelier.
Gov. Phil Scott signed a proclamation declaring April "Donate Life Month." He and the New England Organ Bank encouraged Vermonters to consider becoming potential organ donors.
The New England Organ Bank said in a news release that more than 1,000 lives in New England were saved in 2016 through organ donation, and many more were greatly enhanced through tissue donation.
The wife of a Brattleboro man who received a heart transplant in 2007 said that before he died late last year, he wanted to become a donor himself.
"He was able to donate both his corneas, which was his request, and which the family members — I, included, obviously — thought was wonderful," Wendy Magnaghi said. "Today, there’s a 78-year-old woman and an 81-year-old gentleman from Michigan who both have their sight back."
The New England Organ Bank said there are more than 118,000 Americans waiting for a life-saving organ, more than 5,000 of them in New England.