TOPEKA, Kan. – April is Donate Life Month, and local advocates are encouraging people to become organ donors.
According to the Midwest Transplant Network, 120,000 people are on the waiting list for an organ donation in the United States. One person gets added to that list every 10 minutes.
Haley and Kyle Salmon’s 15-year-old daughter Lexie contracted a virus that began attacking her liver.
Haley said, “She went on the 1A waiting list for a liver donation, and it just didn’t come in time.”
Lexie passed away in June 2013.
“It doesn’t feel right. It didn’t feel right not coming home with her physical body,” Lexie’s sister Alley Salmon said. “It didn’t feel like a regular family.”
But now the Salmon family tries to heal. And now they’re sharing Lexie’s story to encourage people to “donate life.”
Haley said, “We say it may not have saved Lexie, but just getting the word out might save somebody else.”
Brooke Connell from the Midwest Transplant Network says Kansas just “hit the million mark” for its number of organ donors. But she says that’s not enough.
“When you see that the number of people added to the list is one every 10 minutes, you can tell that the need is greater than the number of people in the registry.”
Connell says one organ donor can save up to eight lives, and a tissue donor can enhance the lives of up to 50 people.
And Connell says anyone can be a donor. “A lot of people say, ‘Oh I’m not healthy. They’re not going to want anything I have.’ But leave that decision up to the medical professionals at the time of your death to decide what is good enough to be passed on.”
You can register to be an organ donor at the DMV when you renew your drivers license, or you can register any time by going to www.donatelifekansas.com.
“Just one person can make such a huge impact for so many other people,” Connell said.
And even though Lexie is gone, her family hopes her story and her legacy will make an impact on people too.