My cousin was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes, before he started kindergarten. He tried to exercise, to eat healthy, to take his medication, etc. For the most part, he did well. He enjoyed sports, went to college, built a career, married, raised a family, etc. Nothing, including Diabetes, held him back. But, by age 46, his luck had changed. It was clear that he was losing the battle with heart disease. Doctors told Allen that he needed a heart transplant to survive. The news fell on our family like a ton of bricks. Months later, he received the news — a match had been found. For him, as with thousands of others, it was truly the gift of life.
At any given time, approximately 4,000 people are awaiting a heart transplant. Some are children. Even infants have undergone the surgery. Why they need a new heart varies, from patient to patient. But the severity of their health situation is the same. They are all fighting to survive.
After decades of research and medical advances, heart transplant surgery still carries risks. But it also has a good success rate. About 85% of patients will survive the first year, after surgery. And 75% will live at least 5 years. Younger patients (age 55 & under) have a 50% chance of surviving a decade or longer. Most of these recipients (over 80%) return to normal living, i.e. working, swimming, cycling, running, etc. As I said, it is truly the gift of life.
If you are already an organ donor, let me say, “Thank you.” For those who may be curious about organ donation, or interested in becoming a donor, please visit https://www.donatelife.net/types-of-donation/heart-donation/ for more details. You can register to become a heart donor, in just a few minutes. It isn’t difficult. If you choose to become an organ, eye, and tissue donor, your decision can make a difference in the lives of more than 75 people! Over 90% of Americans support organ donation. Unfortunately, less than 60% are registered to be a donor. Let’s change that …
Make February of 2020 the month that you chose to give the gift of life!
*Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash