As a photo technician at two DMVs in PA, Shelly Gearhart-Labash asks people every day if they would like to be an organ donor.
Since she has been touched personally by the gift of organ donation, this question always makes her smile. Shelly uses it as an opportunity to answer people’s questions about the decision and looks forward to the chance to dispel myths surrounding organ donation.
A native of Hollidaysburg PA, Shelly grew up on a farm, and spent her time tending to her family’s cows. After being diagnosed with Budd Chiari, a rare condition which causes an enlarged liver, Shelly’s mother received her first transplant in June of 1989. This donation gifted her with 13 extra years of life to spend with Shelly and her family. Sadly, when her mother required a second liver transplant a donor was not found in time. Shelly’s mother passed away in 2002.
Shelly has since honored her mother’s legacy and now acts as an advocate for organ donation in Pennsylvania. Shelly was married this year and in her free time from the DMV, she shares her mother’s story and volunteers for the Center for Organ Recovery and Education. Recently, she hosted a registration table at Walgreens in support of National Minority Donor Awareness Month and shared the impact that donation had on her family at a flag raising for National Donate Life Month.
An organ donor’s story goes on and on. So can yours. Register today to change lives tomorrow.