TOMS RIVER – Jamilynn Reineke and her loving family were deeply saddened when her father, James “Jimmy” Carrigg, 73, passed away in December 2020 due to COVID-19 complications. While Jamilynn and her family continue to grieve their loss, she has been inspired to volunteer and help educate others about the powerful impact of organ and tissue donation and transplantation during National Donate Life Month (April).
“My father enjoyed an additional 30 years of life thanks to his successful kidney transplant back in 1990,” said Jamilynn. “He lived all of life’s precious moments with my mom and enjoyed every day with his grandchildren. My goal now is sharing his story and opening the minds of others to encourage them to register as organ and tissue donors.”
Jamilynn recently completed training to become a certified volunteer ‘Advocate’ for NJ Sharing Network, the nonprofit organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue in the Garden State. She joins the hundreds of local NJ Sharing Network volunteers who are helping to spread the organization’s life-saving message in April during National Donate Life Month and throughout the year.
“Thanks to the selfless decision of an organ donor, my dad was given the gift of life,” said Jamilynn. “I could have grown up without my dad, so I realize how blessed I am.”
James, who worked for A&P for 50 years, suffered with kidney health issues from an early age. His loving wife, Geralyn, supported his medical needs by getting certified to perform dialysis treatments at home prior to James’ life-saving transplant. Together, James and Geralyn raised Jamilynn and her brother Domenick in their Toms River home. Jamilynn and Domenick are both married with three children each.
“My dad always remained humble and caring because he understood how fortunate he was to be alive,” said Jamilynn. “He took great joy in the simplest things in life, like waiting with his grandkids for the ice cream truck to come and family pizza nights. He was living proof of the power of organ transplants, and I believe he is proud to see me supporting NJ Sharing Network’s life-saving mission.”
According to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are over 100,000 Americans – nearly 4,000 of whom live in New Jersey – waiting for a life-saving transplant. One organ and tissue donor can save eight lives and enhance the lives of over 75 others.
New Jersey’s caring spirit is providing hope for the future. Organ and tissue donor registrations in the Garden State continue to increase thanks to strong community education and outreach efforts and expanded ways to register. New Jersey donor registration jumped 8.3% in 2021, and the state ranks 5th in the nation on the Donate Life America National Registry. New Jerseyans can register in any of the following options:
• Online at NJSharingNetwork.org/Register
• Through the iPhone Health App
• In person at your local Motor Vehicle Agency
To learn more, visit NJSharingNetwork.org.