Local Man Becomes Oldest Organ Donor in the United States

MCDOWELL COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Cecil Lockhart was born and raised in McDowell county and was known by his larger than life personality.

Mr. Lockhart worked as coal miner for over fifty years and served as a corporal in the United States Army during World War II.

Unfortunately, Mr. Lockhart passed away in May of 2021, but managed to give life to someone else by donating his organs. His liver was gifted to a sixty year old woman who now lives a healthy life.

“He’s a hero, there are so many people that need different organs,” said Granddaughter of Cecil Lockhart Stephanie Lanham. “Some people are waiting and waiting and unfortunately some don’t make it. I’m so happy that he went through with that and decided to do that.”

For many families the thought of knowing that a piece of their loved one is helping someone else serves as a way to help them through the grieving process.

“He did save the life of a woman in her sixties which is amazing, but he also gave his own family this amazing legacy,” said Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) Katelynn Metz. “A way to heal after he was gone and that was something that Cecil did very purposely because he himself found that own healing when his son passed away and was a donor.”

If you are interested in becoming an organ donor West Virginia has three ways in which you can do so. The first is to register at the Department of Motor Vehicles when you renew your license. Otherwise you can register online at registerme.org or when you go to get your hunting and fishing licenses.

“The process of organ donation really starts well before someone passes a way,” Metz said. “It’s when they are first given that opportunity to register as an organ donor and even if somebody doesn’t want it register they should always make sure to talk to their family about it. Let them know they’re wishes so that if the unfortunate does happen then your family knows what your wishes are.”

It does not matter your age or your health, anyone can become an organ donor and potentially save one of the more than 100,000 people in need of a life-saving organ transplant.

For more information on the organ donation process visit the CORE website.

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