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National Donor Day takes on new meaning for Fruita family

The March 2020 heart transplant possibly saved Carter Seely's life
The March 2020 heart transplant possibly saved Carter Seely's life(KKCO/KJCT)
Published: Feb. 14, 2021 at 10:07 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - National Donor Day is observed every year on February 14th, helping spread awareness about organ and tissue donations.

Five-year-old Carter Seely of Fruita was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Carter has had three open heart surgeries since birth, and has struggled with vocal chord paralysis, as well as suffering a stroke.

Last year, Carter’s heart was failing to the point that he likely needed a heart transplant to survive. Luckily, Carter was able to receive the transplant in March 2020.

“Colorado is number one in the country in donor designation,” says Andrea Smith, Director of Communication for Donor Alliance, a local non-profit serving Colorado and Wyoming residents. “We’re really proud of that community support and connection. We want to help build on that over the next few years.”

Almost 70 percent of Coloradans are registered, which is most in the country. Carter received his heart transplant in March 2020, and his family says Donor Day has taken on a new importance to the Seelys.

While the first few weeks of rehab were difficult after the transplant, Carter no longer has some of those heart problems. The Seely family says they will be forever grateful to their donor, who quite possibly saved Carter’s life.

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