My Final Gift
Into the dusk, but also the dawn.
I will remain as the morning comes
As I've left behind a gift for someone.
So another may walk,
may talk, may see
Where their life was locked,
I offered a key.
I am a donor to someone in need,
My final gift, my final deed.
Sarah Todd, Ireland
Daughter of a Heart Recipient
Lynn Davis, Liver Recipient
In the spring of 2014, I suddenly began feeling ill, had a decrease of energy, and wanted to sleep all the time. Within 6 weeks, the situation was far worse. I could barely drive, my cognitive abilities were affected, and I no longer had the energy to do the things I loved doing or even get out of bed. My doctor ran lab tests and found that my liver enzymes were extremely elevated.
Two weeks later, I was hospitalized. A CT scan and Biopsy showed I was in acute (sudden & severe onset) liver failure. I was told that I only had 5% liver function and I that I needed to find a liver clinic. Two days later, I was at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix being evaluated for a liver transplant. Within a few days, I was diagnosed with Fulminant Hepatic Toxicity and admitted to Mayo Hospital. I was in disbelief and was sure there had been a horrible mistake. After all, I was young (52) healthy and active.
The liver is an amazing organ that has the ability to repair itself. The doctors at Mayo began treatment in the attempt to repair my failing liver. Unfortunately, my liver was too damaged and treatment was unsuccessful. The only alternative remaining was a new liver and without one, I would die in a very short time. I was placed on the “wait list,” joining over 120,000 other people in the U.S. who were also waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. Approximately 15,000 were in need of a liver.
Over the next few days, my condition deteriorated. They moved me in to ICU and changed my status on the organ transplant wait list to “status 1A.” This status is reserved for patients with acute liver failure and a life expectancy of hours to a few days without a transplant. The survival rate for individuals with acute liver failure is less than 20% due to the sudden and rapid deterioration of the liver. The following morning on June 24, 2014 I received the news that a matching liver had become available and that evening I underwent a successful liver transplant.
On the second year anniversary of my liver transplant, I had the amazing experience of meeting my donor’s mother. My donor was a 20 year old incredible young man that was in college to become a doctor. His aspiration was to help others and save lives and he did, just that! I think of my donor every day and am forever grateful for his decision to become a registered organ donor. If you are not already a registered organ donor, please consider becoming one. If you are a registered donor, thank you!
Evelyn Rivera, Liver Recipient
Robert Golding, Liver Recipient
Cathy Walters, Heart Transplant Recipient
I was incredibly blessed in June, 2013 when I received the Gift of Life and given a new heart! My surgery took place at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. I had been diagnosed with a rare and progressive heart condition which would have ultimately rendered my heart useless. Not only did I receive a perfectly matched heart from a most generous donor and her family, I didn't even have to wait very long to receive it (one week on the National Waiting List!)
Thanks to this miracle, I literally have a new life! Instead of being depressed and thinking I had no future, I now look forward and am grateful for every new day. I have returned to many former activities, being independent, traveling and helping others. One of my passions is now increasing the awareness of the need of more donors and promoting organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation. I am so looking forward to my first Transplant Games of America experience in Cleveland this June! I hope to gain more knowledge that will help me in my quest to "pay back" and further the cause!
The Games will also give me the chance to celebrate with other transplant recipients and their families, as well as to pay tribute to all the donors and their families. It is only through their generosity that life-saving and life-restoring transplants can take place. They are the true heroes!