(An Article Written for Summit Racing Equipment Company Newsletter, Published Jan 2012)
On Sunday September 25, 2011, The Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Donate Life Network held its 4th annual Donate Life Walk at 8:00am at Sparks Marina in Sparks, NV. The yearly events goal is to raise awareness for the tremendous need for organ and tissue donation and to honor donors and donor families and inspire future live organ donation participants. Dozens of teams and hundreds of walkers brought focused attention to the needs of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe in dire need of vital organ transplants.
”Thanks to all who supported and came out on Sunday”, said Debby Heffern (IT-Sparks, NV) “I greatly appreciate all of your continued support, Thanks again Team Summit”.
Even with expanding the awareness of such needs with special events such as this one, unfortunately a great many pass away well before an acceptable organ becomes available; the other fortunate ones wait anxiously for periods in excess of 10 years before their life saving opportunity comes around.
Currently a predominate amount today’s organ donations come from terminal patients which have experienced trauma and have previously expressed their desire to donate vital organs in the event of such a tragedy in an effort to save another life or often lives. Other Donors offer these life saving procedures in what’s classified as LIVE ORGAN DONATION TRANSPLANT. Some donate directly to people they know and care about, others just do it to help others in need. Whether donated by a terminal patient, or LIVE DONOR, unfortunately there are never enough to go around. Sadly statistics show that for every offering donor, there are 15 people waiting for said kind souls to offer such a magnanimous gift. We need to do more.
Our Debby Heffern (IT-Sparks, NV) is one of those kind hearted souls who are doing more, changing the statistics, one of those saviors if be, willing to put their lives on the line for another.
“It’s easy, anyone can do it, just check the box on your Drivers License”, Debby says with a smile. “It’s just the right thing to do, besides, I’ve got an extra one. . . . .LOL”, she giggled in all seriousness.
Debby will be giving the GIFT OF LIFE to her husband Dave’s brother Tom. Tom Heffern suffered a full kidney system failure almost 3 years ago, since has endured 4 hours of Dialysis every other day awaiting the opportunity for an available organ, only to be told that it could take as many as 10 years, with the only means of expediting the process is to personally find a compatible donor. Several years back, all Tom’s siblings were tested to be Donors, and all but his brother Dave were disqualified. Dave seemed to be the perfect match, but after extensive testing, was later to learn that his donating Kidney was determined to be unqualified. As the Dialysis continues to take a horrible toll on Tom’s health, and lacking any other blood line options, Debby stepped up and began the process of trying to qualify as a donor match, though not a blood type match.
FACT: You don’t have to be a perfect Blood Match to donate to a friend! Due to great advancements in this pioneering technology, Debby (an A- blood type) can give her Kidney to Tom (an O- blood type) with what’s now known as Cross Matching.
Deb was notified that she was compatible; Surgery was scheduled for October 5, 2011 at UCLA Medical Center, and she headed to Los Angeles.
“Too many people need what we healthier people can give, and when it’s your family, it’s the least you can do, and if by sharing my story helps raise awareness to this all too important cause, and maybe inspires someone else, then I am all to happy to do so as well.”
Unfortunately after undergoing pre admittance testing for both patients, it was determined that the recipients health would require us to reschedule all efforts.
The Surgery Team would also decided to go with a swap/exchange approach to the transplant, thus providing Tom with an even more so compatible Organ, Deb would Donate to a better match in Chicago, and Tom would receive a Kidney from a Donor in New York
On Thursday February 24th, 2012, Tom will receive his Kidney and on Wednesday March 14th 2012 at UCLA Medical Center Debby is again scheduled to give her GIFT OF LIFE.
We all wish her and her brother-in-law well in their surgeries, and swift recoveries and look forward to having Debby back at work in good health and sharing an update with us in the coming weeks on how she is doing.
The Water is FINE, Y’all come see us sometime
“On behalf of all of us involved in this life giving effort,
Thanks so much for your continued support.”