Picnic in the Park - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Picnic in the Park

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

For the third straight year folks gathered in Smith Park in downtown Jackson for Picnic in the Park Thursday. The event is organized by the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency, MORA, and kicked-off National Donate Life Month.

MORA hopes the event raises awareness about organ and tissue donation in the state of Mississippi. According to their statistics there are 1,200 Mississippians in need of an organ and tissue transplant.

That number is amplified on the national stage, in which an average of 113,000 Americans are on the wait list for organ and tissue transplants.

The picnic itself serves to raise awareness, but also honor donors and recipients by promoting the dual benefits of giving and receiving the gift of life.

It also sets the stage for reunions as donors and their recipients have a chance to catch up with each other. Such is the case for Angelique Dykes of Madison, Miss., and Jackie Chatman of Jackson. Two years ago Dykes donated one of her kidneys to Chatman.

"I am a recipient, this is my cream of the crop donor who gave me a kidney 2 years ago in February, so this is just one of those events where we come out and show support, especially for me, for Angelique giving me the gift of life," Chatman said.

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