Sunday, May 11, 2014

How Organ Donation Changed Our Lives

So, many of you probably don't even have a clue what Organ Donation is- hopefully, by the end of this post you'll love it just as much as I do.
I'll start off with my story.

In 2002, my great aunt was diagnosed with Cryptogenic Cirrhosis of the Liver. She was almost immediately placed on the waiting list for a liver. Meanwhile, her doctors told her that she was a great candidate for a living donor. All her sisters were tested, along with her brother and sons. Unfortunately, none of them were good matches. Whether it be that their blood types were not matches or the fact that at their age, it just was not a good solution.
That's when my mom decided to talk to us about being tested. 
You guessed it- she was a perfect match.

Although our entire family was happy, that this was a possibility for my aunt- my mom still had the decision to make. It would be a life changing one. This procedure could be an amazing success or a heartbreaking failure. In the end, my mom decided to go through with it.
So one sunny day they wheeled her down the long hallway for anesthesia. 
Eight hours later we were told they had both done phenomenal during the surgery and were in recovery. Seeing my mom made me so happy- I was so proud of her for making this choice.

A few short hours later, my mom was taken down to see my aunt in her recovery room. The change in her was so obvious to us all. Her skin and eyes no longer had a yellow glow, her sores already healing and her simply radiating with happiness. 
I knew, my mom had made the right choice. She saved my aunt's life.

Six weeks later, my mom was healing and her liver had regenerated to 98% of what it used to be.

My aunt had to take non-rejection medication, to keep her body from rejecting the liver she received from my mom at first- but now she is a happy thriving woman, who is now almost 70! 

Watching my aunt sit on that waiting list was a heartbreaking experience. But the fact that my mom was able to change her life, made me realize what an amazing cause Organ Donation is.

Did you know, eighteen people die everyday waiting for a transplant?
Every ten minutes, someone is added to the waiting list.
For more life changing statistics, click here.

So many people assume they have to die to donate their organs- that's very, very untrue!
You can be a living donor, just like my mom!
You can donate half of your liver and it will regenerate to approximately 98%.
You can donate one kidney, and your body still function with the other one remaining.
You can donate one lung, and still breathe just like before.
You can donate bone marrow, blood and so much more.

You can change lives for the better.
You can make a difference.

I am such a strong advocate for this cause and wish everyone I met could feel the same way.
Organ Donation can change so many lives and help so many people.
If you want to become an organ donor, you can visit the Organ Donation Website and register in your state- or simply talk to your family. Express your wishes, your feelings and like me, your hopes.

I pray that each of you can make a commitment to change a life.
And if you aren't ready for that step just yet- I ask that you say a prayer for those on the waiting list- that just maybe, someone will become available to change their life, too.

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