Woman discusses importance of organ donation - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Woman discusses importance of organ donation

(Source: KSWO) (Source: KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - On Valentine's Day, many received gifts of candy, flowers or chocolate hearts, but today is also National Donor Day. One woman is sharing the story of how her mother received a real heart, giving her the gift of life. 

More than 119,000 people are currently waiting for an organ donation. 

Linda Dunlop was born with extra muscles in her heart. At the age of 49, she suffered from congestive heart failure, had a pacemaker, and her heart was pumping at only 20%. When Linda's name was placed on the transplant list, her heart was functioning at 15% and doctors had told her that she had less than a year to live.

When Linda found out that she was getting a transplant, her daughter Amber was at college, two hours away. 

She rushed home to be by her side, shocked and excited, but with mixed feelings. 
 
"It's bittersweet because you know the other family is going through something and you almost feel awful because you want to celebrate that your parent, or your sister or your sibling gets to live and you know that somebody else just had to pass away," Amber said.

Amber was an organ donor before her mom ever needed a transplant but after seeing the impact organ donation has for so many families she believes it's something everyone should consider.

Dallas England a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at Comanche County Memorial Hospital agrees with Amber but adds it's more of a conversation people should have with their loved ones, early on, not when they're facing the end of their lives.

"It's a discussion that needs to be had with the family member when they're healthy,” England said. “That way they’re at their best judgment making the decisions of what they want to do if it comes down to that."

England says in his year of working in ICU he's seen three people donate their organs to save others’ lives.

"It helps with the grieving process for the family. Not only that but for the staff working 12 hours trying to keep the patient alive but when they do pass it's nice to know that the hard work wasn't for nothing a life was still saved in the end," England said.

Now, two years after being told she only had months to live, Linda is doing better and Amber is thankful to the family who donated their 25-year-old son's organs. 

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"If that person hadn't decided for them and their family to donate organs I won't have my mom," Amber said.

England says having the organ donor heart on your driver's license isn't enough. Families need to sit down and discuss their loved one's wishes with them because, in the end, the family must make the final decision.

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