Monday, June 17, 2019

LifeSource gives renewed life

"Don't take your organs to heaven -- heaven knows we need them here!"

There's a wonderful organization out there that gives many renewed life.

It's called LifeSource, an organ donation program that is dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in the Upper Midwest. It serves the 7 million people who live in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and portions of western Wisconsin.

LifeSource is dedicated to working with hospital and community partners to support donor families, manage the donation process and educate our communities to create a culture of donation. LifeSource saves lives and offers hope and healing through excellence in organ and tissue donation.

Our daughter Tammi was the beneficiary of two liver transplants made possible by LifeSource. She died in surgery during the second transplant.

Our family is forever grateful for some generous souls willing to give our 22-year-old daughter a second and third chance at living 24 years ago.

Our son Troy and his wife Nancy recently placed personalized Arizona license plates about organ donation. It reads: Donate Life 4 Tammi.”

April is National Donate Life Month and it is a time we think about the two people who made it possible for Tammi to have a chance at living longer. Tammi received her first liver transplant on April 15, 1995.

National Donate Life Month is a time set aside to honor the generous gifts of organ, eye and tissue donation. It’s also the perfect time to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Since 1989, LifeSource has recorded 4,428 organ donors. During that time, 15,321 organs have been transplanted and 7,846 tissue doors have helped others in need.

Organ donation is a gift and the decision to donate organs is just that, giving of life to someone else.

The gift of organ donation is a wonderful gift, one our family will never forget and a gift our family and friends give some day, or a gift we can convince others to give.

Prior to her first transplant, Tammi said organ donation was something she was committed to, not just as a possible recipient but as a donor. She received that precious gift but was not able to donate her organs due to the nature of her condition.

It seemed very coincidental that Tammi was recovering from her first transplant and we were observing National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week 24 years ago. The special week and month are set aside to create public awareness about donation, and to recognize the shortage of organs, tissues and eyes for transplanatation.

LifeSource reports that approximately 3300 people in our communities are in urgent need of transplant assistance.

One organ donor can help save the lives of many through donation of the major organs. Transplants work. About 85 percent of all transplants result in patients living full and active lives.

Tammi's first transplant was successful with her being released from the hospital 16 days after surgery. "I have never felt this good and had so much energy," Tammi told Judy and me days after surgery.

When a family gives permission for organ donation, LifeSource inputs medical information about the organ donor into the computer and prints a computerized match list. Matching is based upon medical criteria such as blood type, weight, size of the organ, length of time waiting for a transplant and severity of illness. Genetic (tissue) matching is also a key factor for kidney and pancreas transplants. Sex is not a factor. Transplant recipients may receive organs from either male or female donors. In addition, eligibility to receive a transplant is not determined by a person's financial status.

Donated organs are "matched" with transplant recipients before they are removed for transplant. Extensive tests before surgery determine which organs can be recovered. However, physicians can't always tell if the organ is suitable until surgery takes place.

Go to the LifeSource website and read about 17-year-old Minnesotan Alexis Kretsch, who donated her organs following a fatal car crash in 2015.

Tell your family your decision to become an organ donor. It's that simple.

Think about the gift of life. It is very precious, the life we have and the one we can give.

See full story in this week’s print edition or subscribe online. Please subscribe here or current subscribers can login here.

Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
507-583-4431
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent
507-634-7503
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
507-634-2661
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

 

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