3Qs: Charlotte Mullinnix, MORA corporate relations director

MULLINNIX

MULLINNIX

A single organ donor can extend lifelines to as many as eight people. The need is great with more than 1,300 Mississippians on organ transplant waiting lists.

Today, donors and their families will be honored in a 3 p.m. ceremony at Midtown Pointe Medical Professional Mall, formerly Gloster Creek Village. Along with a balloon release, the public will be able to tour the newly opened MORA offices in the medical mall.

The Daily Journal asked Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency Corporate Relations Director Charlotte Mullinnix about efforts around the state and the agency’s new space in Tupelo.

Q: Where does Mississippi stand on organ and tissue donation?

A: We’re doing very well. We had 70 donors (in 2013) who provided 229 organs for transplant. We had 142 tissue donors. From one tissue donor, more than 70 people can be helped. And, Mississippi donors provided 309 corneal transplants. Our consent rate is much greater (than it once was) due to education and more people signing the Mississippi donor registry. Concerning the registry, in 2013, we increased the number of authorized organ and tissue donors by 21 percent. We went from 500,000 to over 600,000. …Unfortunately only about 2 percent of deaths have the possibility of organ donation. There is a somewhat greater potential for tissue donation to occur. That’s why it’s so important to consider donation now, to talk about it and make your decision a legal one by signing up at DonateLifeMs.org.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about organ and tissue donation?

A: First, people don’t want to think about their mortality. Then they think they can’t be organ donors. They think ‘I’m too old,’ or ‘I’ve had cancer.’ They think something may rule them out. Our criteria is very different than rule-outs for blood donation.

Q: Why did MORA create the Gift of Life Conference Center, which includes meeting space and catering kitchen that are available to organizations, businesses and the public?

A: We’ve really grown and expanded our services over the years. We needed more space, and due to training needs, we needed a facility for our own use. We thought it would be a great service to offer it to the community.

The fees from the use of the conference center go to the North Mississippi Donor Family Scholarship Fund and the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency Education Fund.