About sixty years ago, organ transplants for humans began to show signs of success. Once a transplant has been completed,
preventing the body’s rejection of the transplanted organ can be an ongoing challenge. The body's attempt to destroy the transplanted
Tags:Learn about organ donation,amount of people waiting for organ transplant,healthsciencechannel,history of organ donation,how organ transplant helps,organ transplant lists,organ transplant waiting list,successful organ transplants
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Male Speaker: 32-year-old James Shelby is a healthy young man, but that hasn't always been the case. As a 4-year-old, James had a cancerous kidney removed. One of the treatment agency received turned out to have harmful side effects and is no longer used.
James Selby: The cancer was cured, but it caused an internal, I want to say domino effect on both my heart and my kidney.
Male Speaker: Besides having breathing difficulties that he blamed on asthma, James enjoyed a normal childhood. But the perilous condition of his health became apparent during college. A few months after he passed out going up a flight of stairs, doctors told James that both his heart and remaining kidney were failing. He would need new organs to survive.
James Selby: A 22-year-old boy hearing that at the prime of his life, I just started crying, you're waiting in the hospital, watching news hearing about accidents and deaths. It's not the kind of life that you want, when I look forward to begin you know if something else happens outside that could be your chance at life.
Male Speaker: After waiting for nearly five months, James received a donated heart and kidney from a 16-year-old girl who died in a traffic accident.
James Selby: I've had a successful and a blessed thank God, almost 10 years, nine years of a healthier, better, more satisfying, more fulfilling life because of my organ transplants.
Male Speaker: But others aren't as fortunate. Everyday 17 people die nationwide waiting for donor organs.
Lori Brigham: It's so important for people to donate. There is probably 96,000 people on the national waiting list waiting for an organ. Most of them are waiting for kidneys, but all of them are awaiting life-saving organs. Just about anyone can be a potential organ and tissue donor.
Male Speaker: A person can become an organ donor by completing an organ donation card and carrying it in their wallet. Many states offer people who are applying for new or renewed driver's licenses, the opportunity to make a decision regarding organ donation and have it recorded on the driver's license.
Lori Brigham: Almost all of the states now have registries or they have a driver's license program.
Male Speaker: While working at the Washington Regional Transplant Consortium, Lori sees strong emotional bonds form between the relatives of organ donors and their recipients.
Lori Brigham: You know we had this one woman she came to meet her recipient. It was probably a couple of years after her son died. And the very first thing that she wanted to do was lay her head on the chest of man who got her son's heart. So she could listen to her son's heart beating, life really does go on.
Male Speaker: Since his successful organ transplants James has been very busy. He is planning his wedding with his fiancée and working at the National Institutes of Health.
James Selby: Well, since my transplants, I've done a lot of things. I have finished bachelor's degree, finished a master's degree and I am now working on the last year of my PhD Healthcare Administration. I speak on this particular topic all throughout the country.
Male Speaker: When he finishes work on his PhD, James intends to move back to his hometown of Norfolk, Virginia, where he hopes to create a center calling attention to the critical need for organ donation. James would like to inspire others to save lives through organ donation.