Local foundation urges organ and tissue donors

Organization focused on helping wounded warriors

SAN DIEGO - Hundreds gathered at Seaport Village on Saturday all for one mission: to urge people to become organ and tissue donors.

It was all a part of "Fan for Life Fest" and The John Brockington Foundation. Part of this year's focus was helping wounded warriors through tissue donation.

Cpl. Darryl Charles knows how important that donation could be. He served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. It was on that second deployment when he stepped on an improvised explosive device, a moment that changed his life.

"From there, it was recovery and that's the thing that's most important to me the most," he said.

Charles lost his right leg. He received a skin graft as part of his treatment, but knows many of his fellow soldiers have it much worse.

"I know people who are injured who haven't lost limbs," said Charles. "There's many, many burn victims and they need skin tissue so they don't get infections."

Tissue donors, he said, are "very important."

"You can't ask these people to serve and don't take care of them when they come back. That just doesn't make any sense to me," said John Brockington, the founder of the foundation named after him.

Close to 2,000 people are currently on the waiting list for an organ donation in the San Diego area. Nationwide, there are more than 1 million tissue transplants done each year, according to Donate Life, but there is still a long list of many waiting.

"You don't want to take this to the grave. You just don't … you can help somebody else live," Brockington said.

Brockington, a former Green Bay Packers running back, knows personally how critical donors are. He received a kidney donation from the woman who eventually became his wife.

Now, he is just hoping others will give back.

"Our goal for Saturday is to get as many people to register and to have fun!" Brockington said.

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