Graduate student encourages people to become organ donors


Brionna Belcher

After Andrea Harden, a graduate student, lost her son and saw how many lives he saved, she has become an avid leader in encouraging people to become organ donors.

By Abby Byer

DeKALB ― Andrea Harden, a graduate student, encourages everyone to become an organ donor after she lost her son in 2019 to gun violence.

Harden is hosting an information session on May 3 about the importance of becoming an organ donor but requests only students of ENGL 645 classes attend.

“While losing my son to gun violence created a traumatic experience for me, I later realized the impact that my son’s organs had on saving the lives of others,” Harden said.

Harden’s son,  Ezra (EJ) Hill Jr., was only 10 years old when he lost his life.

“My goal is to inspire those who are not organ donors to register as a donor to save lives and give the gift of hope to others, just like my son EJ,” Harden said. 

This session will give Harden a chance to speak on her experiences with the presence of fellow classmates to give them insight on what she’s been going through all while trying to become a teacher. 

“This is something I’ve been going through and managing all while trying to obtain a student teaching career and work with children, even though that’s a very difficult thing to do in my situation,” Harden said. 

Harden said her son saved many lives by donating his organs. 

“Someone else is living because of my son,” Harden said. “To be able to save another life, that’s awesome. That’s the joy I can get in the morning, to know my son’s organ recipient is alive and well.” 

She advises anyone who is hesitant to become an organ donor to not believe the myths about organ donation and understand that giving their organs up after death means saving another life. 

“You can save 25 lives plus, just with your tissue, corneas, bone marrow, skin grafts, etc,” Harden said. “Things that can’t be used go to research to help us. It’s a really good thing to do and I had a first hand experience on why you should actually do it.”

According to the HRSA (Health Services & Services Administration), There are over 106,000 people on the national transplant list waiting for an organ donation, and 17 people die everyday waiting for a transplant. 

Those interested in becoming organ donors can sign up on the HRSA’s website.