95-Year-Old Man Donates Liver After Death, Becoming United States’ Oldest Organ Donor Ever

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CORE Donate Life Cecil Lockhart

A 95-year-old West Virginia man became the oldest organ donor on record in the United States after his liver was donated upon his death, according to the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE).

Cecil F. Lockhart died on May 4, and shortly after, his liver was recovered and donated to a woman in her 60s, who is "doing well," CORE said in a press release, noting the record was confirmed by the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Lockhart, who lived in Welch, West Virginia, was inspired to become an organ donor upon the death of his son Stanley in 2010, according to the release.

When Stanley died, he donated tissue that healed the lives of 75 people, and helped restore sight to two people by donating his cornea.

"He was a generous person when he was alive, and we are filled with pride and hope knowing that, even after a long, happy life, he is able to continue that legacy of generosity," Lockhart's daughter Sharon White said in a statement. "When my brother was a donor after he passed away a few years ago, it helped my dad to heal. And today, knowing his life is continuing through others really is helping us through our grief too."

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While Lockhart is the oldest person on record to donate an organ, the first instance of someone above the age of 90 donating happened in 2001, and since then, 17 nonagenarians have donated organs, per UNOS data.

"Too often, people mistakenly believe there is an age limit associated with being an organ donor. The truth is, no one is ever too old or too young to give the gift of life," UNOS Chief Medical Officer David Klassen said in a statement. "Every potential donor is evaluated on a case-by-case basis at the time of their death to determine which organs and tissue are suitable for donation. Cecil's generous and historic gift is a perfect example of that."

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Lockhart worked in West Virginia coal mines for more than 50 years, and also served as a corporal in the United States Army during World War II, according to the release. He is survived by Helen, his wife of 75 years, daughter Sharon, son Brian Lockhart, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Son-in-law Bill Davis told CORE that the family is asking people to register as an organ donor in Lockhart's memory.

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According to CORE, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list every 10 minutes, and more than 107,000 people in the U.S. are currently awaiting a life-saving organ transplant.

The nonprofit said that one person alone can save the lives of up to eight people by donating organs, and can improve the lives of 75 people through tissue donation.

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