Family affected by organ transplant looks to spread awareness

Family affected by organ transplant looks to spread awareness

SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA (KPLC) - Most of us check the organ donor box on our driver's licenses. Then, we usually don't think of it again.

For some, that check mark is saving lives.

"It's a tragedy that puts us in this situation and people are waiting on a list - a long list," said Danette McManus.

That list is an organ transplant list - 118,000 people are on it and 22 of them die every day, awaiting a new organ.

Adele Tilley was a child when her father's health began declining due to diabetes.

"He'd come home from work and pretty much go to sleep," Tilley said.

In 2006, Dane Tilley needed a kidney transplant. Organ transplants were not new to the Tilley family.

Adele's aunt had a lung transplant and her cousin had a double cornea transplant, and when it seemed like Dane may never get the kidney he needed, his sister stepped forward.

"…after, it was completely different," Adele said.

But one transplant wasn't enough.

"It was a pancreas transplant; he was on the list for three days. Most people are on it for months or years. They called us in the middle of the night and said they had a match and it was," she said.

Just days after Dane was put on the transplant list, tragedy struck a family in New Mexico. The loss of a teenage boy saved Dane's life.

"It was life-changing. They lost a life and we gained one, but they saw that someone else was able to live. Even through a tragedy, someone else can still have life," Adele added.

Now, Adele has her father back.

"He's so full of life; he's so active; he does more," she said.

Adele and her family are now advocates for organ donation.

With time-sensitive organs, the decision to donate needs to be made quickly by a family member before a person is deceased.

"People are under the fallacy that even though you say you wanna be an organ donor and check it off on your driver's license, (that) does not make you an organ donor; you have to let your next of kin know," McManus said.

Adele and her family hosted a fashion show at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, at Cash and Carry, 801 Enterprise Blvd. in Lake Charles.

The models in the show have experienced an organ transplant, so when you consider organ donation remember - the loss of one person can potentially save eight others.

For more on organ donation and how it saves lives, click HERE.

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