National Donate Life Month celebrates historic amount of organ transplants while looking towards future

Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 1:00 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - In 2022, 714 lives were impacted by organ donation in Alabama, the most transplants performed in one year in the state.

However, there are currently 1,200 on the waitlist to receive an organ donation. In the United States, a new person is added to that list every nine minutes, and 17 of them die every day waiting for a transplant.

“There’s always more people to help and more people to transplant. While we are doing more and we work with a lot of generous families, really our goal is to encourage everyone to register to be a donor,” said the Director of Education for Legacy of Hope, Ann Rayburn.

One of those people on the wait list now is William Bazzano. Bazzano received a kidney 29 years ago from his mother. Now, he has been on the waitlist for two years after learning his kidney only had about five years left.

“I’m still breathing, I’m happy, I’m just waiting for a potential donor,” said Bazzano.

Bazzano met his wife, Tina, through his kidney transplant. Tina is also a recipient of a kidney donation. The two of them were both inspired by their experiences and got into health care. They had a daughter and now a grandson.

“Neither one of them would be here without the generosity of others of donating an organ,” said Bazzano.

Getting a kidney also changed Jan Jones’s life. She was diagnosed with Type one Diabetes at 8 years old. After years of conquering health complications, she found out she was in renal failure.

“It was like facing your own mortality. I remember going to sleep at night praying that I would wake up. Because I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it,” said Jones.

Just after a year of being on the waitlist, Jones got the call that they had a match for not only her kidney, but her pancreas. With a new pancreas, she no longer has Type 1 Diabetes.

“I am living a life that I have only dreamt of since I was 8 years old,” said Jones.

Legacy of Hope is encouraging everyone to wear green and blue on Friday to support Donate Life Month.

If you are interested in becoming a registered organ donor, click here.

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