While many of us take for granted our two kidneys and beating heart, others don’t have that luxury. In fact, every 10 minutes someone is added to an organ recipient wait list.
Did you know that April is National Donate Life Month? It might not be the most well-known holiday, but it’s a day that has the potential to save lives — and that’s worth celebrating. Here’s what the official Donate Life website has to say about its April holiday:
Celebrated in April each year, National Donate Life Month (NDLM) features an entire month of local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.
For the 2014 National Donate Life Month artwork, the Donate Life America team was inspired by springtime and the symbol of a flying kite. Spring is a season of new life that calls to mind the many men, women and children whose lives have been saved or healed by organ, eye and tissue donation. Likewise, the kite is an image that appeals to all ages, genders and nationalities and is often associated with hope and celebration.
How have people been changed by organ donation?
Watch the video above of Allyssa Bates telling her story: “Confessions of a Kidney Donor.”
Recipient vows to finish donor’s bucket list
You may be familiar with Susan Vieira, who recently told her story to the Huffington Post. The 64-year-old woman was the recipient of a heart transplant, and later vowed to do everything possible to make her donor’s unfulfilled dreams come true.
The woman who gave her life? 21-year-old nursing student Kristina Chesterman, who died after being hit by a drunken driver while riding home on her bicycle. Her legacy now lives on, both in her family’s hearts and in the lives of those she’s since saved. Through her option of organ donation, at least five people have been saved. Five!
Vieira, who received Chesterman’s heart, was one of those people, as she had suffered from congestive heart failure and would’ve likely died without a transplant. She has since promised to do all she can to fulfill the bucket list that the young woman had made for herself when she was alive. What does that entail? “She wanted to fly a plane, she wanted to travel extensively and she wanted to ride a camel,” Chesterman’s mom told a local news outlet.
Watch a video on Vieira’s story on the next page.
MORE STORIES OF HOPE:
- Listen to this NBA all-star who received a life-saving organ donation
- “I’ve seen both sides of the donor network” — unbelievable story of a heart recipient
- Watch tons of inspirational videos on organ donation on the official Donate Life website.
- Read stories from transplant recipients in California.
- A lung transplant recipient tells his story.
Do you have any experience with organ donation? Tell us your stories below!