Ileana Rodriguez is a two-time kidney recipient. When she was first told that her kidneys were failing as a child, Ileana’s mother became her living donor, which allowed her to get back to a normal childhood. Years later, her body rejected the kidney.
“It felt like my life was over and I was very scared,” she said of her second diagnosis for a kidney transplant. This time around, a registered organ donor saved her life after being on the national waiting list for two weeks. “Thanks to organ donation, and the amazing people that choose to be donors, I have a second chance at life.” When it comes to encouraging others to register, Ileana says “I hope you choose to be an organ donor, because you are and will maybe be someone’s hero one day.”
Just like Ileana’s donor a new record of 170 individuals, a 22 percent increase from last year, provided 568 organs to patients, giving hope to the nearly 11,000 people who are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in Texas.
“Our mission is to save lives through organ donation,” said Edwina Garza, communications coordinator for Texas Organ Sharing Alliance in McAllen. “Everyone has the possibility to be a lifesaving hero through organ, eye, and tissue donation.”
By registering, you can save eight lives as an organ donor and potentially 75 others with tissue donation. “It’s the best gift to give, the gift of life,” Garza said.
According to their records, there were 23 donors in the Rio Grande Valley last year, but every 10 minutes someone is put on the transplant waiting list, and 22 people who need transplants die every day.
TOSA will continue to find more ways to educate people on donating their organs, and become registered donors. For information on organ donation and community initiatives, or to register online, visit TOSA1.org.