Right now, there are nearly 2,700 people in Colorado waiting on livesaving transplants, approximately 200 of which are on the western slope. Saying yes to becoming an organ, eye and tissue donor saves lives. Transplants offer patients a new chance at healthy and productive lives, returning them to their families, friends and communities. At the time of their death, just one donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and save or heal more than 50 lives through eye and tissue donation. Colorado residents can register their decision to be organ, eye and tissue donors at the time of their death by saying ‘yes’ each time they obtain or renew a driver’s license or state ID, or at www.DonateLifeColorado.org. Anyone can register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, regardless of age, race, medical history, religion or income. Even those with chronic conditions, such as hepatitis and diabetes, can register to give the gift of life to people in need of transplants, like Lella from Delta. You can read Lella’s story below.
On January 21, 2008 the Young family was blessed with a baby girl, Lella. Little did they know what a wild ride Lella would take them on in her first year.
At two months old, baby Lella was diagnosed with Biliary Artresia, a rare condition that closes the tube that drains the bile from the liver into the intestine. Lella underwent a five-hour surgery that unfortunately did not fix the problem. Doctors said that Lella’s version of the condition was particularly rare. Many more complications followed including nutritional instability and a liver that was still not draining properly. Thus, Lella was put on the transplant waiting list when she was just six months old.
In August of 2008, 46 days after Lella was listed, the Youngs received the call that they had been waiting for. A liver was available, it was being flown in from another state and Lella was first in line to receive it.
Lella underwent a 10-hour transplant surgery, as well as two additional surgeries to repair unexpected bleeding. But then, Lella was on the road to recovery! Initially she required 16 medications following her transplant. But now, six years later, she is only taking one.
She is now the picture of health; an exceptionally happy and active child. She plays t-ball, swims competitively and loves reading. Her mother Lyndall jokes “you wouldn’t even know that Lella had had a transplant unless you saw her in a bikini!”
Lella’s transplant came from a young girl in Iowa, whose brave family said ‘yes’ to donation amidst their enormous grief following her death. The Young family has since met the donor family.
“Lella would not have lived without our donor family’s lifesaving gift. They are an amazing family that we now feel blessed to be part of,” Lyndall said.
About Donor Alliance
Donor Alliance is a nonprofit dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. As the organ procurement organization and accredited tissue bank for Colorado and most of Wyoming, Donor Alliance serves more than 5.8 million residents and more than 100 hospitals. The organization adheres to medical, regulatory and ethical standards: respectfully working with the families of organ and tissue donors, maintaining partnerships with hospitals, educating residents on the life-saving benefits of donation and inspiring them to sign up on the state’s donor registry. Colorado and Wyoming boast some of the highest rates of donor registration in the country, which directly translates to more lives saved through organ and tissue transplantation. Donor Alliance is one of 58 federally designated organizations of its kind in the United States, and is also an American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) accredited tissue bank. For more information, please visit DonorAlliance.org or the Donate Life Colorado or Donate Life Wyoming Facebook pages.