North Carolina breaks state record for organ donations

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) - North Carolina broke a record last year in the medical industry with the highest number of organ donors and transplants in 2019.

According to Carolina Donor Services, 2019 had a 37% increase in organ donors compared to 2018.

45 transplants have been done in just 4 months at Vidant Medical Center, according to Transplant Surgeon Dr. David Leeser. He said they're also on-track to do even more transplants this year.

One mother, Leslie Johnson, remembers her 19-year-old Zeke, who was an organ donor. He was lost in a car accident last year. She said he was like a gentle giant with a big heart - a heart that was donated, along with four of his other organs.

"He did something amazing by saving lives and I hope there are other parents know if they have to go through this and make a decision, it would be to donate," she said.

Leeser said the job is still not over. They always need more donors because almost 100,000 patients are waiting for a kidney transplant, and there are many others on various waiting lists.

Johnson is proud of her son for the life that he's given to many. "He's a hero in my eyes," she said.