Organ Donor Recipient Tells Her Story

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Around the nation more than 120,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant with 1,500 in Mississippi alone. With your help, those numbers could decrease.
News 25’s Kristen Durand introduces us to one Vancleave woman who might not be alive today had it not been for one organ donor. She was at Memorial Hospital today encouraging others to register.
At the age of 18, Rachel Payne was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that destroyed her kidneys. “I was told that my career was over. I’d never have children and one day I’ll need a transplant.”
Eight years later, she went into full renal failure, dialysis wasn’t working and the prognosis wasn’t good. “I was told to make my final arrangements and that I would not be considered for a transplant because quote: ‘It would be a waste of a good kidney.’ That made me mad,” said Payne.
At that point, she said she decided to take the bull by the horns in a fight for her life to get her name on that transplant list. In November of 2000, she got the call she’d been waiting for: a possible kidney was available but not to get her hopes up, two other people were called for the same kidney, normal protocol due to the small window of opportunity to perform a transplant. “So, the needle is in my arm, the doctor came in and released the information that the family allowed. Thankfully, they allowed everything. So, my doctor came in and he said his name was Jerry Hayes and he was an adamant organ donor. He was a lawyer from Texas and he was a retired bull rider. The kidney was an identical match,” said Payne.
Sixteen years later, she’s a healthy mom who volunteers with the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency, an organization that helps to facilitate the process of organ donation while educating the public and dispelling any myths that prevent people from registering. Community Outreach Coordinator Trisha Byrd said, “One of the most common myths that we hear is that if there’s an accident the person’s life will not be saved. That is absolutely false, the last thing on any doctor or EMTs mind is whether they’re an organ donor or not.”
You can register by going to the DMV and getting a heart on your license or by going online at donatelifems.org. Donating organs can mean donating life.

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