WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18)– April marks National Donate Life Month.
Every year, Americans are encouraged to register as organ donors to help the thousands of people who are waiting on life-saving surgeries.
Rachel Downey, of Versailles, said she has become a big advocate for organ donation while she waits for six new organs. Every day is a waiting game for Rachel Downey. She tries to stay patient and optimistic as she waits by the phone, hoping it will ring with life-changing news.
“Everyday that goes by that I don’t get a call, you get that little pit in your chest like, oh another day went by,” she said.
Downey was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease 25 years ago. After several procedures led her into intestinal failure, she not only needs one organ transplant, she needs six.
“A new stomach, new kidneys, new pancreas, liver, small intestine, and large intestine,” Downey told LEX 18.
In 2019, more than 100,000 people are waiting on life-saving transplants. Unfortunately, on average, 22 people die each day waiting for organs.
“Until you get in this situation, you don’t think of it very much. You’d be saving a life and making mine a lot better,” she said.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin recently signed a bill into law giving people an option to register online to be an organ donor. While Downey continues at-home therapy, her phone sits next to her, as she waits for the call that will change her life.
“Both of my kids have never known a healthy mom. That’s another thing. I want them to experience a healthy mom,” she told LEX 18.