Butterfly release: LC Memorial Hospital event highlights organ, tissue donation

Published 5:00 am Saturday, April 23, 2022

On Friday, approximately 55 painted lady butterflies found a new home in a Lake Charles garden. Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, in partnership with the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, hosted a butterfly release in the hospital’s Roche Butterfly Garden.

Friday was  “Blue and Green Day,” a day to share the importance of registering as an organ, tissue and eye donor.

Marla Myers, a Memorial Hospital lab technician who is completing schooling to become a registered nurse, shared her family’s organ donation story with those gathered in the garden for the butterfly release. Myers’ brother committed suicide in 2009 at age 32. It was his desire to be an organ donor.

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Because of his decision, five people were saved, she said. One person received her late brother’s heart. Myers recently met this person.

“The moment I met my brother’s heart recipient all I could think about was how selfless my brother was. My brother may no longer be with us, but he still lives on,” said Myers. “He was a wonderful person. I miss him every single day.’

The butterflies arrived at the hospital Thursday packed on ice from a grower in Luling, La. At the release, each attendee was given a little white box that contained a butterfly. Boxes were opened and the butterflies, slowly warmed by the sun, worked their wings back and forth before taking flight and finding places to light in the garden. Painted ladies have a lifespan of 15 – 29 days.

Since 2018, 46 lives have been saved through organ transplants from 12 organ donors at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, according to hospital Communications Manager Allie Livingston. Additionally, 3,525 lives have been enhanced through tissue donation from 47 tissue donors at Memorial. Today, according to LOPA, there are almost 2,000 Louisianans currently waiting on an organ to be donated.

Every April, LOPA focuses attention on the potential people have to “Make Life Happen” by registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor and by considering being a living donor. National Donate Life Month, established in 2003 and observed in April each year, helps to encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to honor those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.