March of Dimes March for Babies 2017
April is National Organ Donation Month. The month recognizes and encourages Americans to register as organ, eye, and tissue donors; and celebrates those that have saved lives with their gift of organ donation. With organ donation, the loss of one life can help to save the life of up to 50 others.
According to donatelife.net, 119,000 men, women and children await lifesaving organ transplants. Every ten minutes another name is added to that list. Every year 8000 deaths occur due to organs not becoming available in time. By registering to be an organ donor, you have the power to make a difference in your final moment.
Your heart could be the heart someone’s daughter is waiting for. That is the case of a young lady named Hailey Steimel. This is her story.
“My name is Hailey Steimel. I am 20 years old. I was born with a Congenital Heart Defect called Transposition of the Great Vessels. I have a twin sister named, Hope. She was born with a hole in her heart, but nothing as severe as mine. I also have a sister, Hannah. When I was little I remember having to go to the heart doctor at least once a year, and having to do a bunch of tests. I remember having to take an antibiotic before any dentist appointments so that I wouldn’t get an infection. I was told not to over-do it in P.E class. If I got tired, I could sit and take a break. Most of my friends did not know that I had any heart issues unless they saw my scar. I was fine and felt pretty normal until I turned 16. I even played soccer and ran track.
In October 2012, I got really sick and couldn’t seem to get rid of a cold. After a bunch of doctor’s appointments I was sent to the University of Iowa Hospital. It was there that I found out that kid’s with my defect, and my same surgery that I had at a year old, were later needing heart transplants! At first I was very angry; we had never heard this before. I was also upset, and scared because I did not know what was going to happen. That winter and summer things got worse. My legs, arms, pretty much everywhere began to swell. I started to get more and more tired, and didn’t have much of an appetite.
August 19, 2013 I was admitted to the U of I. I was in congestive heart failure and listed for a heart transplant. It made me very scared, but I was also happy that I might be able to get a new heart and feel like my old self again. I was there for two months. I had to have a PICC line and a surgery to put a VAD (heart pump) on the right side of my heart. On November 4, 2013 I was able to go home and wait for my new heart. I was the first pediatric patient to go home with the VAD from the U of I. This made me pretty nervous.
At home I was very bored. It seemed like it was taking so long, and some days I felt like I would never get my heart. Some days I was even very depressed.
On February 13, 2014 we got the call to go to the U of I. There was a heart available! I was super excited, but also very sad, because I knew that someone had passed away in order for me to get a heart. My heart was placed on Valentine’s Day which is also National Donor Awareness Day.
Today, I still think about my donor and how he changed my life. I’m thankful that I am a normal 20 year old and can do normal 20 year old things now. When you think of someone with heart disease, you don’t usually think of a teenager, young adult or even a child. I am living proof of that. I am alive because of the staff at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, cardiac advancements and a Special Donor.
I love spreading organ donation and Congenital Heart disease, awareness! I am feeling better than I have ever felt!”
Hailey is a perfect example of the life that you could save by registering as an organ donor. Take a moment today to save a life later.