“As we sat beside my five month old son’s hospital bed, we begged God for a miracle: Smith had been fighting 24 hours for his life, but really, he had fought since birth. Smith was born with a rare liver disease called Biliary Atresia. The bile ducts in his liver were not formed correctly. Bile was trapped and quickly caused cirrhosis to his liver,” explains Smith’s mom, Holly from Jefferson County.
Smith was listed in very critical condition. Machines miraculously kept Smith alive while he waited for his Gift of Life through organ donation, a transplant.
“Flooding in my thoughts came the hopes and dreams my husband and I had for Smith. The holidays we envisioned sharing with him and all the ‘firsts’. First step, first word, first day of school, soccer game, summer at the beach. We wanted to share him with our friends and family, read him books, take him to the park, go on adventures, and teach him about life. We were so close to not having any of those memories,” says Holly. “He was days from death.”
“Stories about patients, like Smith, drive us to do this important work. Your circuit clerk’s office educates all Kentuckians about the lifesaving mission of organ donation. We ask every person getting a license or ID if they would like to join the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry,” Clinton Circuit Clerk Jake Staton said. “No child, or spouse or grandparent or friend, should die waiting for a transplant. All of us can do something to give hope. We can register as a donor.”
Of the 120,000 people currently on the transplant waiting list, tragically 22 Americans die every day waiting. Kentucky’s Circuit Clerks and deputies are an integral part of increasing public education about organ donation and growing Kentucky’s Organ Donor Registry. These efforts will end the wait for over 1,000 Kentuckians currently in need. Today, an extraordinary 1.7 million Kentuckians are registered donors.
The generosity of an organ donor gave Smith his gift of life, his liver transplant. “I will forever be grateful that someone chose life and hope for my son when we were desperate for a miracle,” says Holly.
According to Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, the non-profit that works with hospitals and fa miles to honor the gift of donation, there were 110 organ donors in Kentucky in 2016. From those generous heroes, 324 lives were saved. From the generosity of Kentucky 327 tissue donors, over 1,000 patients will be healed.