SOMERSET, Ky. (LEX 18) — Senate Bill 30 went into effect this week, allowing the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to add organ donation questions to the screen when people renew their car tags online.
Advocates say this will impact more than 30,000 people on average every month, people like Somerset teenager Levi Goff.
Levi received a life-saving multi-organ transplant when he was just eight months old.
Thinking back to the months leading to his transplant, Levi’s mom Laurie recalls some of her worst days.
“I still remember that room. I still remember the surgeon, and he sat there, and we just cried, and it was…it was one of the worst days ever,” said Laurie.
Levi was born with a birth defect that caused his intestines to twist inside his abdomen. Doctors told Levi’s parents that an organ donation was his only chance at survival.
On any given day, more than 1,000 people in Kentucky are waiting on a lifesaving organ transplant. Across the country, 22 people die each day waiting on these transplants.
For Levi, receiving an organ donation at eight months proved nearly miraculous for the family. Yet, alongside their relief, another family was experiencing their darkest hour.
At the time of Levi’s health issues, a woman in Maine named Tasha lost her daughter at just five-weeks-old. Tasha chose to donate her daughter’s organs. Levi was the recipient of the lifesaving gift.
“I'm so grateful to her and thankful for her, I respect her to the utmost because she gave me something that I would have lost my child without if she hadn't made that choice,” said Laurie.
The transplant happened almost 15 years ago, but to this day, Levi’s and Tasha’s families have a special bond.
In some ways, they feel like family, so it’s no surprise that Levi received a wedding invitation from Tasha last month.
Levi’s family made the trip to Maine for the wedding, representing the daughter Tasha wished she could have had there.
“It was emotional, and it was good seeing her so happy and having something that made her happy because she deserves all the happiness,” said Laurie.
Tasha had a piece of the daughter she lost, standing alongside the family she gained. Together, the families have helped one another heal.