Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Gift of New Life

February 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Close to 100,000 men, women and children in the United States are currently awaiting an organ transplant. Almost 14,000 of them are in Texas.

organ transplant pic

Some of those in need of a new organ are in that situation by accident; while some are in it because of choices they made.

Celeste Harkins is a senior public relations major at Texas Tech University, and she said she was in need of a kidney because of an accident.

Harkins said doctors gave her a medication when she was a baby that caused her go to into kidney failure.

“All of my life I had to go to the doctor and get blood work and check-ups and make sure my kidneys were okay,” Harkins said. “By my senior year [of high school] they said I needed a transplant.”

She said she went onto the transplant list and received her new kidney from a deceased person a month before she turned 18-years-old.

Harkins in the hospital after receiving a kidney transplant.

Harkins in the hospital after receiving a kidney transplant.

Harkins said the process was not an easy one.

She said she received the call that a match had been found twice before a true match was found and put into her body.

Harkins said her recovery process was also tough.

“It took so much energy to roll over,” Harkins said, “and it took so much energy to walk.”

“I didn’t have an appetite; I weighed 90 pounds after my transplant.”

Just Rickman is a senior mechanical engineering major at Tech, and he said his father was recently in a situation similar to Harkins’; however his problem was a result of cigarette smoking.

He said his father was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make breathing difficult, according to Mayo Clinic.

Rickman's father recovering from his lung transplant

Rickman’s father recovering from his lung transplant

“Eventually, they said ‘In order for you to live five more years, you’re going to have to be put on a transplant list for new lungs,’” Rickman said.

He said because of his father’s experience, he is going to register to be an organ donor himself.

“It would be great, you know, if something did happen to me,” the mechanical engineering major said, “if I did have the chance to donate to bring joy to somebody else’s life.”

“That might be my legacy.”

According to Life Gift, an organization that offers hope to people in Texas and beyond who need life saving organ and tissue transplants, one donor has the potential to save and enhance over 50 lives and take up to eight people off of the organ transplant waiting list.

Maybin Simfukwe, M.D., said the best way to maintain healthy organs is to exercise, eat healthy, maintain a healthy weight and to avoid fried foods and soda.

“Basically maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the key,” Dr. Simfukwe said.

He described the decision to be an organ donor as one that is important and should not be taken lightly.

“It is not something that one should take lightly,” Dr. Simfukwe said, “but you should also think about the life that you save when you do something like that, that’s selfless.”

 

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