Mother honored; encouraging organ donation after her own tough choices

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Story Updated: Apr 16, 2010

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) - April is national "Donate Life" month - a month where people are urged to register to become organ donors.

On Friday, a mother who made that very tough decision two years ago as she watched her young son die, was honored for helping save a number of other people's lives.

Sharon Bierria, of the Bronx, was honored Friday afternoon at the Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, the place where her 22 year old son Tyshawn died in May 2008.

Tyshawn Bierria tried to break up a fight outside of his dormitory at SUNY Delhi and was stabbed 11 times.

His mother arrived at Bassett in Cooperstown hours later only to find Tyshawn in a coma. Five days later, Sharon was faced with the very tough decision of whether to remove Tyshawn from life support.

She did, and when approached as to whether she was willing to donate Tyshawn's organs for transplant, she said she had to pray.

Sharon told reporters Friday afternoon that she came up off of her knees in Tyshawn's intensive care room that day, and knew organ donation was the right thing to do.

She said Tyshawn's heart was working fine, his lungs were working fine, and she knew through him, other people could go on living, or, live better lives.

The national organization called the Center for Donation and Transplant honored Sharon Bierria Friday afternoon at the very hospital she made that very tough decision.

C.D.T. spokesperson Heather Hickland said the non-profit organization has started a new program to honor donors.

Starting this month, the C.D.T. will fly a "Donate Life" flag for one week at hospitals where organ donation has been made. That flag will then be given to the donor's family. On Friday, Sharon Bierria was presented with the flag that has flown at Bassett for the past week in her son's honor.

Because of Tyshawn and Sharon, a number of people received organs, including a woman named Georgia from the Buffalo area, she received a life-saving kidney transplant.

Georgia came forward last year to request to be introduced to the mother of the young man whose kidney saved her life. Sharon Bierria said a day doesn't go by without thinking of Georgia and the other anonymous people out there who have been saved by her difficult decision two years ago.

Currently, there are over 100,000 people on the national list of people waiting for a transplant.More than 9,000 of them are from right here in New York State.

If you would like to register to become an organ donor here in New York State, just log on to the Center for Donation and Transplants website.

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