Healthwatch 16: Spreading the Message about Organ Donation

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SCRANTON -- A man from Lackawanna County has been the recipient of a donor organ twice. He's now making it his mission to spread the word about how important organ donation is.

You may see him around at various events and he says you'll definitely see him at a baseball game this weekend.

What's hanging on the walls of Tony Harding's living room in Scranton says it all: CD covers. He's a big music fan and went to 11 concerts last year.

We met Tony two years ago as he gave a teenage girl with cystic fibrosis, someone he didn't even know, two tickets to see the Rolling Stones in concert.

Geisinger sent a car to pick up Kaitlyn Hentschel and her mom Tanya and take them to Buffalo.

"I keep saying it was the best concert I never saw," he joked.

Tony is a two-time organ recipient. He couldn't attend this Stones concert because he was about to get a needed second kidney donation, from someone who had just died, someone he doesn't know.

"I had to feel like I was worthy of it."

So Tony bought a sign and he set his sights on taking it along with him, not just to concerts, but to other popular places: sporting events. Steelers training camp in Latrobe, Pirates games in Pittsburgh, and this weekend, PNC Field in Lackawanna County for a RailRiders game.

Tony has organized a day at the ballpark to raise awareness for organ donation. He says the northeast coalition of Gift of Life will help him pass out green bracelets.

And the person throwing out the first pitch, a kidney donor, will be throwing to his recipient.

Tony wants people to know it's important and it's easy to say you'll be an organ donor, exactly what he recently told a group of DMV workers.

"I don't know who my donor was. It's quite possible someone in this room asked them, 'do you want to be an organ donor?' You see the looks on their faces. 'Maybe that was me who helped save his life!'

The RailRiders game is this Sunday, August 6 vs. Pawtucket at PNC Field.

If you have questions about organ donation, Tony says he's happy to talk with you, and he will not be hard to find.