Paralleled with National Donate Life Month, Grand Aire acknowledges April as our Organ Donation Awareness Month.
Timely transportation plays a vital role when it comes to organ donation. We are proud to partner with many Organ Procurement Organizations and Transplant Centers nationwide and provide medical air transport flights for donated organs and/or surgical teams. It is very important to us to build awareness and grow the donor list nationally so everyone that is on the waiting list can have a fighting chance at life.
We would like to introduce you to Paige Hartley. Paige is a 24 year old woman who grew up in Bellbrook, Ohio, a city just outside of Dayton. Paige is a living organ donor who donated one of her kidneys last November. A living donor transplant is when an organ or portion of an organ from a healthy living person is donated to a transplant patient. As a living donor you are able to donate a kidney and portions of your intestines, liver, lung or pancreas.
Paige is a true hero for so selflessly donating her left kidney. Her organ donation story is inspirational and one that everyone should hear about. We were able to sit down with Paige and ask her some questions about her experience.
Q: What organ did you donate?
A: My left kidney
Q: How old were you when you donated?
Q: What made you decide to donate your organ?
A: That’s a tough one, it’s hard to explain. I saw someone that needed help and I knew I had the potential to help. I also needed help to because I was overweight. I ended up losing 65 pounds before I even knew if I was a match. The person I donated to was my reason to get healthy.
Q: Did you know the donor recipient personally?
A: I actually met her at work. I’m a tech in the ER and she was a patient. I had a probably 7 minute interaction with her to transport her to her room and in those few minutes we had talked a bit. When I dropped her off in her room something was different. I ended up messaging her on Facebook and telling her I wanted to donate my kidney!
Q: How did you find out that you were an organ match?
A: Through a ton of test! There are a few specific blood test that check the antigens and blood type, but the other test that are done are just to make sure you are healthy enough to donate.
Q: How long did the entire process take?
A: About 15 months. She had to go through testing in order for her to be approved and listed and same with me. I had to do urine tests, blood pressure tests, cat scans, x-rays, blood work and about a million other things to ensure I was a match and was healthy enough.
Q: How did you tell them that you were willing to donate?
A: As crazy as it sounds, a Facebook message! That was the only way I had to contact her at the time.
Q: How has this experience changed your life?
A: In more ways than I can list or explain. It gave me a reason to be healthy, which was a reason that I didn’t have before. For some reason it’s easier for me to do things for other people rather than myself.
Q: Would you tell others to become an organ donor?
A: Absolutely!!! A kidney is the most needed organ, and you can live a normal healthy life with just 1! The wait for a Deceased donor is 5 to 10 years and a lot of people don’t have that long to wait for a kidney.
Q: What goes into accepting to become a live organ donor?
A: You have to understand what it means and what life style changes you need to make (healthy lifestyle with eating and exercising, less caffeine, no NSAIDS). You also have to be aware of the worst that could happen, like what if your one kidney you have fails? Or what if it gets injured? Those are all things you have to consider and think about.
Q: What is the biggest misconception people have about organ donation?
A: That you can only do it when you die. We have got to educate ourselves on live donation! Live donation is such a better option (when it’s a choice of course). Those organs that usually come from live donors tend to do better, last longer and they don’t have to wait 5-10 years. As a live donor you can donate a kidney, part of your liver (the liver regenerates), blood (just donated blood for the 11th time), bone marrow (I’m on that donor list too), plasma, platelets and even hair to make wigs (I’ve done that a few times as well). The way I look at it is, if you have something that you could do without, why wouldn’t you give it to someone who could potentially die without it? It will save their life!!!
Q: Would you do it all over again if you had the chance?
A: Absolutely! I always say if I could grow more kidneys or not need the one I have that I’d donate over and over again because not only did I help save someone else, I helped save myself. It’s an amazing feeling that I wish more people would be willing to experience!
Paige’s story is one of many that has saved someone else’s life. You to can give the gift of life by registering to become an organ donor.
Register today at https://www.donatelife.net/register/