Organ donation. These words can carry a different weight dependent on the person you are asking. Some people only associate with the question when they receive their driver’s license. Then for people like myself, it means a new shot at life and infinite gratitude to those who decide to donate theirs. I was 15 years old when I was diagnosed with a rare heart disease called Restrictive Cardiomyopathy. I was fortunate enough to maintain a stable status and live a relatively normal life up until I was 22. In November of 2015, my condition began to deteriorate and by November of 2016 I was hospitalized, forced to medically withdrawal from school just 4 weeks shy of graduation. I was then added to the heart transplant list. I received a heart transplant at the University of Kentucky Hospital on December 17, 2016. I remember waking up from surgery and for the first time in years being able to breathe and feel my heart beating and actually feeling alive. There is not a single day I do not think about my donor and their family or the new heart beating in my chest. Due to my donor’s generosity, I saw another birthday, I graduated from college, and I am living a full life. This family changed my life and others because they said “YES” to organ donation. Currently there are 114,000 waiting on a lifesaving organ transplant and not all of them will get their miracle because of lack of available organs. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have been given a second chance at life and it is only possible because this person chose to be an organ donor. I encourage whomever is reading this, to become an organ donor. Simply visit: registerme.org With all my heart, Adrianne M. Rogers
February 14th is National Donor Day, which aims to serve as a reminder of the importance of discussing the lifesaving possibilities of organ and tissue donation. Thanks to the Circuit Court Clerks of Kentucky, showing the heart on your driver’s license is the perfect way to start a conversation about love and legacy. Melissa Cardwell, Butler Co. Circuit Court Clerk said, “We encourage everyone to use National Donor Day to discuss organ donation with those closest to you. Joining the Organ Donor Registry means you have made the decision to save and heal lives at the time of your death, if you are eligible. It won’t happen for many years, but at that time, what an amazing gift to give someone a second chance at life. A last act of love and kindness to another soul.” Currently more than 1,000 people are awaiting a lifesaving transplant in Kentucky with more than 114,000 waiting nationwide. Every day 22 people die waiting. Everyone is eligible to register as a donor when you renew your driver’s license or online www.registerme.org. There are no health or age limits. “When we think of lifesavers, we often think of our military, first responders, and hospital workers. But each of us can be a hero. Thinking about what happens after we are gone from this earth may not be easy, but talking about the heroic, generous legacy we hope to leave behind is inspiring,” explains Shelley Snyder, Executive Director of the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life Organ Donation Awareness Program. “You can share the love this National Donor Day by starting the conversation with those closest to you. Proudly show your generous heart on your license. Every heart gives hope to those suffering and waiting.” Michelle Branham from Magoffin County, Ky., knows firsthand the miracle of receiving a kidney transplant after she suffered for years from kidney disease. “On Sept. 9, 2017, I received the call that my family and I had long been waiting for. They had a match! I would be getting a new kidney!” she said. “I will never forget that phone call; I was actually at the Dialysis Center when I was contacted. The excitement I felt was indescribable! My family and I hurriedly gathered our things and made the trip to meet my transplant team. All because someone made the choice to give life through organ donation!” Michelle has worked to honor her donor since her transplant. “I’m so lucky to be able to spend time with my daughter and loved ones. I’m so grateful for my donor, because thanks to them I’m able to see my beautiful daughter play, celebrate special times with loved ones and simply go to the store without struggling and needing assistance with daily things.” The dollar donations at Circuit Court Clerks’ Driver’s License counters and other philanthropic partners, including KODA and Kosair Charities, fund the statewide community outreach and public relations efforts to grow the Registry. Kentucky was recently recognized by Donate Life America [...]
I’m going to die… One day, hopefully not anytime soon. When I do, I hope I have the opportunity to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. This is exactly what I’ve been telling people when they ask me about my job. Now that I’ve gotten you to read this far, let me introduce myself. My name is Crysta and I work for Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) as a Community Educator. The past 6 months have been nothing short of amazing. Every single day is absolutely eye opening. I knew what I was getting into, but it’s actually so much more than I could have ever imagined. I shed happy tears just about every day at work, and I've completely accepted the fact that I'm now a crier (and my mother made over). My third day on the job, a coworker took me to lunch. There we met a double lung recipient and her husband. They paid for our lunch without asking or hesitating. They both thanked my coworker for all she has done for the mission and myself for what I will do. Her transplant allowed her to see her daughter turn into a mother; she now has 5 grandchildren. It was that moment that I knew I would be forever changed by this selfless mission. My life isn’t the only one that has changed, either! My family and friends have latched onto the mission as well, but it definitely didn’t happen overnight. My mom is considering being a living donor to a complete stranger and my best friend has basically become a poster child for the mission; before I started, neither were registered donors. Beyond that, I’ve attended so many great events and am looking forward to many more such as Regional Trainings, Clerks Colleges, Gift of Life 5K, Sista Strut and the list goes on. I encourage everyone to see what all these events are about and consider joining us! I'm so thankful for the people surrounding me, especially those that gave the Gift of Life as well as their families. The title of this blog is in honor of them. Donor families and recipients remind all of us at KODA and TFL that we live a gifted life. This website was a HUGE undertaking and I want to thank everyone who helped get it off the ground. Special shout out to Jennifer Griffin at Go Fetch Marketing for putting up with me for almost 6 months :) Stay tuned to this blog for updates, more stories, videos and whatever else we can think of adding!