Finalist received gift of life

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Every beat of Sherrell Gay's heart is a reminder of the moment her life changed.

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Gay's "aha moment" could be featured in a Mutual of Omaha commercial if she wins the company's competition, which spotlights life-changing events.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Gay's "aha moment" could be featured in a Mutual of Omaha commercial if she wins the company's competition, which spotlights life-changing events.

In 2002, 7 1/2 years after she was diagnosed with a heart disease, she was sent to Emory University to be evaluated for a heart transplant and was placed on the waiting list, she said.

Six weeks later, the Keysville, Ga., resident was told a donor heart was on its way.

"I went into surgery knowing that I would either wake up and feel good for the first time in almost eight years or I would wake up in heaven," she said.

After a successful surgery, she had an "aha moment".

"It was like an instant feel good," she said. "You go from being so sick to feeling so good and then you realize the greatest gift anybody can give you is the gift of life. For me, that came from an organ donation. I knew right then, that was going to be my 'aha'. I knew I had to pay my gift forward."

Gay volunteers with the Augusta Transplant Advocacy Group and works part-time for the Georgia Transplant Foundation in Atlanta as a mentor project director.

A few years ago, she designed a pin in her donor's memory. On the top it says, "His gift gave me life" and on the bottom, it says "Sherrell 08-03-02."

She decided to share her "aha moment" in a video during the Aha Moment Tour stop in Augusta this summer. The video is now among 25 finalists and has a possibility of being featured in an Aha Moment commercial in the spring.

The commercials, sponsored by Mutual of Omaha, aim to highlight moments in people's lives that made a lasting impact on them. The 10 videos with the most votes will be featured in Aha Moment commercials in the spring.

Gay hopes her video will encourage others to become donors.

"I hope this will help spread the message of how making the decision to be a donor and discussing it with your family can positively impact others," she said.

Vote on Aha Moment finalists

Sherrell Gay's video is one of two from the Augusta area in the top 25.

The 10 videos with the most votes will be featured in the Mutual of Omaha Aha Moment commercials in the spring.

To view the Aha Moment videos and vote, go to http://www.ahamoment.com/pg/voting. Voting continues through Sunday.

Comments (4) Add comment
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MsShanelle
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MsShanelle 10/28/10 - 02:00 am
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Oh wow!!! What a beautiful

Oh wow!!! What a beautiful story.

usafvet
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usafvet 10/28/10 - 08:54 am
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If you are having a bad day,

If you are having a bad day, a conversation with Sherrell will certainly and suddenly make your day brighter. She loves life and so happy to make everyone else feel better. May she have a long life and be as happy as when I last saw her at the Boshears Skyfest. She is the epitome of ACTIVE.

lccjtc
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lccjtc 10/28/10 - 04:48 pm
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Truly caring and supportive!

Truly caring and supportive! Sherrell was such a blessing to my family when my father was at Emory. She kept him going, gave him hope and most importantly he never felt like he was alone in his illness. A wonderful person!

tracyide
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tracyide 10/29/10 - 02:09 pm
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Thank you for highlighting

Thank you for highlighting LifeLink volunteer and heart recipient, Sherrell Gay. Her “Aha Moment” has brought much attention to the critical need for organ donors. Nationally, there are more than 108,000 people waiting for a transplant; in Georgia, over 3,000. Want you make a difference today? One organ, eye, and tissue donor can save/enhance the lives of up to 60 people. To register your decision to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor visit www.donatelifegeorgia.org and tell your family your wishes.

Tracy Ide
Public Affairs Coordinator
LifeLink of Georgia

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