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City of Birmingham implements paid leave policy for living donors

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 4:21 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Jarralynne Agee said, “I’ve always known that I was going to be a donor..... I didn’t know when, I didn’t know how, I didn’t know if it’d be at the time of my death, or as a living donor, but I just felt like if God has blessed me, if I was in a position to save someone else’s life, that I would do it.”

When Jarralynne Agee found out she was a match for her friend Gary Burley, it was an easy yes.

Agee said, “I felt like, I’m a match, I gotta do it. To me, it felt like, those situations where you hear somebody saving a child they don’t know, or pulling somebody out of traffic. They don’t think about it, they just do it. I just felt like this is something I was supposed to do.”

But before surgery she had some things to consider. Like how she’d be able to take time off work.

Agee said, “I told him, I said, ‘I’m a match for Gary Burley.’ And the mayor just stopped dead in his tracks, and he looked at me and he said, ‘What can I do for you?’ And I was like, ‘I think I’m going to need...’ And he said, ‘Done.’ And I said, ‘I think I’m going...’ And he said, ‘Done.’ And I said, ‘You’re not letting me finish!’ And he said, ‘Whatever it is, we’re going to get it done.’

And with that came this new leave policy for city employees.

As of April 2019 employees now have up to four weeks of leave if they donate an organ like a kidney or a portion of a liver. Those who donate bone marrow will get up to one week.

It’s a move Agee hopes will encourage her coworkers to experience the same blessing she did.

“It does feel like a gift to me that I’m able to do something good in the world. And I get to feel good about that and hope that that would inspire other people to do good.”

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