Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why become an organ donor?

Miracle Baby, Addison
CANADA - Vancouver, BC
September 27th, 2012

For the first few weeks of her life, Addison was just a regular newborn.  She was born on time, weighing 7 pounds 10 ounces, and had no sign of any medical problems.  She was happy, eating, and gaining weight.  Everything was going well, but then one day everything changed.

Her parents noticed that she was very cold and pale; when they took her temperature she was only 34'C.  She wouldn't nurse and she was crying in a way that they had never heard before.  Every time her temperature was taken, it was still low so they decided to bring her to the nearby hospital.

The medical staff thought that Addison had an infection and she was transferred to the Children's Hospital for 48 hours of antibiotics.  When they arrived, they found out that her heart was bigger than it should be but they didn't know why.  A few hours later, 3 week old Addison was rushed to the ICU in heart failure.  Her parents were told that she might not make it.  Their baby girl was added to the top of a Canada-wide transplant list.

Two days later, on Mother's Day, Addison received her new heart.  At first it wasn't working so she was put back onto the heart-lung machine, but the next day she had a pulse!  Four weeks later, her parents were able to take their baby girl home for the second time.

Addison will have to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of her life.  Her parents recently found out that the new heart is working really well, but because of what Addison has been through, her kidneys have been damaged and she has chronic kidney disease.  Her mom Elaine says, "It’s a tough hit of reality and a stark reminder that transplant is not a cure. We know we are buying time for our sweet baby girl by trading in her bad heart for a beautiful new heart, but it comes with a price".

Currently there are more than 300 people in British Columbia waiting for an organ transplant and there is a shortage of hearts, lungs, kidneys, and livers.  I was shocked to read that only 18.5% of the people living in BC are registered organ donors.  People in need of an organ transplant often die before an organ is available to them.  Anybody, of any age can be registered as organ donors, even if they have medical problems.  The way I see it is, if you are an organ donor, if you pass away, part of you can still live on while giving another person a second chance at life.  That's pretty special.

To register as a donor in BC, click here:
To register as a donor in Ontario, click here:
People can also share their organ donor status on Facebook under "Life Events" in their timeline - check it out!

To follow Addison as she grows up with her new heart, you can check out her parents blog by clicking here!

*Moved from "Inspiring Stories" page on Nov 9, 2014

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