Your Generous Gift Can Help Another Live
Nine years ago, my mother's life changed for the worse. She was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, which later would mean liver failure and death.
Over the years, she was in and out of the hospital numerous times. Her physicians in Connecticut would not even discuss transplantation. Last year, she had received her first glimmer of hope.
As they were visiting here, she wound up being hospitalized at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, which put us in contact with Dr. Wayne Lucas. We discussed with him the possibility of transplant. He said he could not make any promises but would recommend her for testing.
In December of 2005, they moved to Seven Lakes. In the beginning of 2006, she began her testing at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. I had offered at this time that if I was a match, I would be willing to donate part of my own liver. However, she would need a full liver.
In the spring of 2006, she was accepted to the national registry, and they relocated us to a hotel in Florida to wait for a possible match. On June 30, 2006, our prayers had been answered. She underwent eight-plus hours of surgery to receive the most precious gift ever, the gift of life.
I am sharing this story because until this point we did not know much about organ donation. I then realized that we were not alone.
While the public is supportive of organ transplant, it is not overly enthusiastic about organ donation. The statistics show that in 2005, 28,110 organ transplants were performed. Out of 14,489 donors, 6,895 were living donors. The shortage is not only in supply but in consent to donate.
About 3,700 candidates are added to the national waiting list monthly. Each day, about 77 people receive transplants. However, about 18 people die each day while waiting for the "gift of life."
Experts say one person could help as many as 50 people by being a donor. There are many ways a person can donate life: Whole blood, platelet, bone marrow, stem cell, umbilical cord blood, and organ and tissue donation.
There is no cost to the donor, nor does the donor receive payment. The recipient's health insurance or Medicare or Medicaid usually covers the cost of the transplant.
Again, we need to raise awareness to improve this shortage. I'm sure if you were on the waiting list, you would want to receive this precious gift of life. My mother has received it, from a total unselfish stranger. I cannot thank them or their family enough for this awesome gift they have given my family.
There is an extreme need for living donors, as well as cadaver donors. April is "National Donate Life Month." Please do not wait until then. Become a donor now! If you're already a donor, saying it on your driver's license is not enough. Have a Living Will made that makes your decision clear. Or go to www.organdonor.gov and get your donor card.
Just think of the lives you could save.
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