Give The Greatest Gift – LIFE

Submitted by the Mid-South Transplant Foundation

Any time is the perfect time to register as an organ and tissue donor and give the most precious gift of all—life.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), more than 108,000 men, women and children are on the national organ transplant waiting list. In fact, 22 people die each day while waiting for a transplant, and a new name is added every 10 minutes. Of that total, more than 4,000 people in the Mid-South are waiting and almost 90% of those are waiting for a kidney due to diabetes and high blood pressure.

Meet Bobbie: Her Heart Has an Identical Twin

No one knows when you or your loved one might need an organ transplant. Meet Bobbie Betonti, who had what she thought was a small pull in her back. After being an airline baggage handler for more than 35 years, she didn’t think much about it. She went to the doctor and was immediately admitted to the hospital. She was shocked to find out she had suffered a heart attack. She was referred to a cardiologist, who put her on the transplant waiting list because only 20% of her heart was functioning.

“I tried to live like that but was tired all the time and had no energy,” Bobbie said. “Several months later, I received a call saying they had found a match. I hesitated because I was scared, but my husband said, ‘We’re going to do this,’ and we did. While I don’t remember a lot, I woke up around Christmas and had been in the hospital about 10 days.

“That pain in my back saved my life. Since my transplant six years ago, I’ve resumed daily activities such as being involved in politics, cooking and going for walks. I feel whole again and enjoy spending time with family, friends and my pet donkey, Chester. I also got to meet my donor family. After writing a letter to them, we communicated for months before deciding to meet. My donor’s mom made a wonderful decision to donate her 15-year-old daughter’s heart, as she wanted her to live on following a tragic car accident. Meeting my donor’s mom and identical twin sister was like a completion for me. I realize that what was a bonus for me was a loss for them. I’m eternally grateful to her, and we stay in touch. How special that my heart has an identical twin.”

Talk with your family about giving life and consider registering today to be an organ and tissue donor at www.MidSouthTransplant.org.