PARISPPANY — A County College of Morris (CCM) graduate, who has returned to the college as a part-time Nursing student, is using his experience as an organ transplant recipient to help others.
Cameron Wohl, of Parsippany, earned his associate degree in Exercise Science from CCM in 2010, received part of his older brother Jared’s liver three years ago. Since then, the brothers have worked together to produce a documentary about that experience. The documentary, called “65 Percent,” can be seen on their website, The Wave Set – www.thewaveset.com – which is part of a campaign to raise awareness about organ donation.
“More than anything, I felt here I was faced with circumstances out of my control, but that wasn’t necessarily going to define me,” says Cameron, 28. “What would define me is how I would react to it. So many people are faced with situations they can’t necessarily control. We felt we could definitely help with that.”
After researching organ donation, the brothers decided to focus on raising awareness about organ donors, including living donors like Jared.
“We realized that education and awareness are key to helping with this. Through our experience, we knew the best way to show what it’s like for people going through this, where one family member is in need of an organ-saving transplantation, was to invite them into our experience and show them firsthand,” says Jared, 31, of South Orange.
The title “65 Percent” refers to the percentage of his liver that Jared donated to his brother. The liver, the brothers had learned, has the ability to regenerate.
The two also speak to community groups on the topic and have raised funds to support their campaign.
A Labor Day weekend golf tournament at Cedar Hill Country Club in Livingston will be the latest fundraiser to help support the brothers’ awareness campaign.
The organ donation process helped them become experts on the subject. For one thing, they learned that the number of Americans who die every day from an inability to receive an organ transplant has risen from 18 when Cameron got his transplant three years ago to 22. Another statistic they learned is that there are almost 120,000 people currently waiting for an organ transplant with a new person being added to the list every 10 minutes. They also realized that when it came to available information, there are not many awareness campaigns about living donors or ones geared towards people their age. The Wave Set aims to address all those issues.
“We’re hoping that by creating this buzz around the topic and doing so in a positive manner that we can help,” says Cameron. “Hopefully this will get people to open up and talk about it while they can.”