Local golf tournament to benefit Save A Life Group
Holding the facsimile check for $1,000 to the Donate Life organization are (L-R): Jasmine Hunt, Tanise Love (of Donate Life), Tom Minowicz, Steve Granger, Director of SALG NC, and Jackie Hall, of Make-A-Wish-Charlotte. (photos by MEP/The Eagle)
by MICHAEL E. POWELL
When it comes to first-hand knowledge of what it really means to save someone’s life through organ donation, no one knows such better than Shelby’s Steve Granger.
Granger, the NC Director of SALG (Save A Life Group) was a 2013 liver recipient and does whatever he can, whenever he can to promote life-saving organ donation.
To that end, the group, which is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, will have their 4th Annual Save A Life Golf Classic at the Cherryville Golf and Country Club on Saturday, Sept. 21, starting at 8 a.m.
In a media release, Granger said, “We want to say thank you in advance to Mr. Dan Arthurs (country club owner) and the entire crew of Cherryville Golf Club for making the day special.”
Granger, who said the group’s goal is to “Give the gift of Life!” also noted in his media release how the primary goal of the organization is to “save more lives through public education and awareness” that focuses on what he termed overcoming “myths” about organ donation.
“I had a liver transplant in 2013 at CMC in Charlotte. It saved my life. I later met the founder of the Save A Life Group, Gary Simmons, and we decided to have golf tournaments to raise funds for his group. So far, counting this one, we’ll have had four!”
Granger noted the group has added more organizations and have gone forward with their fund raising, and have – to date – had $100,000-plus donated.
Granger noted that there are currently over 113,000 patients who need an organ to survive, and thousands more need tissue donation, and he added that “an estimated 22 men, women, and children die each day” while awaiting an organ transplant.
He said the way people can help is to register to be an organ donor and to support the efforts of others who, like him and his fellow recipients, are acutely aware of this great need.
Said Granger, “You have the power to save many! The more on the registry, the more lives saved! It’s that simple!
The good news for Granger and those who volunteer to help out is, he said, “that awareness education by such groups as Donate Life, LifeShare Carolinas, UNOS, Kidney Foundation, us (SALG), and many other organizations have helped reduce the waiting list by 5,000-plus over the past four or five years.”
“But,” according to Gary Simmons, founder of SALG, “we still have a long way to go.
He continued, “Steve and I met at the CMC Transplant Center patient waiting room following life-saving liver transplants, within a few days of each other in 2013. That formed our lasting relationship, and eventually (the start of) SALG NC.”
Another organization that has benefitted from some of the money raised by SALG and SALG NC is the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which Granger noted has similar goals as the SALG.
Jackie Hall, of the Charlotte Make-A-Wish Foundation for Central and Western N.C., was on hand last week (Aug. 7) to receive a facsimile check from SALG NC for $500, as was Cary’s Tanise Love, from Donate Life, a state-wide organization, who received a facsimile check representing a $1,000 donation from SALG NC.
Helping Granger to present the checks was Tom Minowicz, whose now-10-year-old son was a liver transplant recipient. Also helping with the presentation was Jasmine Hunt, who said, “I like helping Steve out.”
Hall said, “I feel very grateful they (SALG NC) are donating the money in order to give another child a wish. I am a Make A Wish mom myself. We are always appreciative of gifts such as this.”
Love agreed, adding, “Donate Life too is very grateful and thankful for the SALG. We’ve done things such as this before, and Gary and Steve have been very instrumental in helping us to help others.”
Tom, whose son was seven when he received his liver transplant, also concurred, saying, “Giving funds like this today is a way for us to give back.”
In addition to donating funds to those in need, Granger said the group makes awareness videos used by the NC DMV; have sent out over 1,000, 30-second organ donation PSA’s (public service announcements) seen on over 40 cable channels; and have a booth at the Cleveland County Fair, which will be held Sept. 26 through Oct. 6, this year.
Granger noted that at the 2018 CCF, he had an unexpected visitor come by the SALG NC booth.
“His name was David Gill, and he was a kidney transplant recipient. We talked a bit and it turns out we both had our transplants on the same day (Jan.17, 2013), same hospital (CMC-Charlotte), and from the same donor, Daniel Sossomon!” said Granger.
Granger said he wanted to thank everyone – donors and sponsors alike – who help SALG NC in their goal of “saving more patients”, and he especially wanted to single out his friend John Laughlin, of Laughlin Furniture Warehouse, whose passion for organ donation and love for Granger is unmatched.
Said Steve, “He has been there for us since Day One.”
For more information on the SALG NC, being a sponsor, or joining them for a round of golf on Sept. 21, or to get more information on organ donation, Steve said give him a call at (704) 692-5723, or visit the web site at www.SaveALifeGroup.org.