Photo Courtesy of: www.sharinghopesc.org
Mark Johnson is the media relations coordinator for Sharing Hope SC, the federal government’s designated Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) for organ recovery in South Carolina. Sharing Hope SC provides organ and tissue donor services to 62 Hospitals throughout the state.
Johnson took a rather different path to get to where he is today. He started in television as a meteorologist; early in his career, Johnson would wake up in seemingly the middle of the night to deliver the morning forecast for viewers on the way out the door. Now, his job looks quite different, Johnson works a lot with the public, as it is in his job description. However, his position as media relations coordinator goes way beyond just a 9-5.
Johnson was getting restless in his job as a meteorologist and yearned for something more. Around the same time, his best friend became ill and was added to the liver transplant waiting list. Unfortunately, his best friend never received a liver transplant and passed away after two years on the waiting list. Johnson was obviously heartbroken, however, it also ignited a fire within him. His job restlessness turned into wanting to make a difference, specifically make a difference in the world of organ and tissue transplantation.
Johnson began his career in the nonprofit world at Donate Life South Carolina, who works in tandem with Sharing Hope SC. He transitioned into the position of media relations coordinator at Sharing Hope SC as his job was essentially created for him. Although Johnson dealt with an immense loss to lead him to this point, the silver lining to his loss was an opportunity to make a lasting impact in the world of organ donation.
What is Sharing Hope SC?
Johnson: “Sharing Hope SC is the only organ and tissue recovery service in South Carolina. It is the designated OPO for all but two counties in the state.”
How can the public get involved in organ and tissue donation?
Johnson: “Well, outside of registering to be an organ donor at the DMV, you can now use the iPhone health app to register.”
What would you say is the best part of your job?
Johnson: “I would have to say meeting the families of those who have donated organs, as well as the receptions of the donations. It is a very rewarding and emotional part of the job.”
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned since starting your job?
Johnson: “Realizing how precious & fragile life is. Working with so many families who have lost loved ones puts life in perspective. However, doing this job has also restored my faith in humanity in a big way. Seeing so many lives changed through organ and tissue donation has really restored my faith in people.”
What do you want people to know about organ donation?
Johnson: “I really want people to hear the stories from people who have received organ and tissue transplants. It really encourages others to become donors when they realize how impactful being a donor is.”
What is one thing people might not know about organ donation?
Johnson: “That being an organ donor means leaving a legacy, you don’t have to be famous to leave a lasting legacy when you are an organ donor, everyone has an opportunity to leave a legacy.”
The biggest takeaway I received when speaking with Mark Johnson was that education on organ and tissue donation is of high importance. The more people know about donation and exactly how it works from both sides, the more people will become donors. Education on the subject is key to the public understanding and embracing organ and tissue donation.
To learn more about organ donation and Sharing Hope SC visit their website: SharingHopeSC.org
To get in touch with Mark Johnson:
Sharing Hope SC Media Relations Coordinator
Hi, I’m Tyler Center; I was born and raised in Greenville, SC. I have seen first hand how this town has grown and improved for the past 20+ years. As a lover of Greenville, I find great pleasure in trying new restaurants and bars around town.