By KATRINA WARDLOW
BURLEY – Heart disease affects millions of people each year according to the American Heart Association and for one Burley woman it really hit her in the heart.
Janiece Burgess, 50, Burley, recently celebrated one year with a new heart due to congestive heart failure and urges everyone to become an organ donor.
Five years ago Burgess had her first heart attack and found out how bad her heart really was. She was
placed on the heart transplant list 4 years later.
When Burgess was put on the transplant list she had to leave family and friends and move within an hour and a half radius of Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, just in case a heart became available.
Then the day came for the long awaited organ that would keep her alive. She received her new heart on May 14, 2010, her chance for survival unfortunately came at the cost of another’s life.
“If it had not have been for the person or their family to donate the organs I would not be alive today,’ said Burgess. “Idaho has such a low donor list, I just wish more people would consider being donors. I can’t stress enough the importance of being a donor.”
“The young adult whose heart I received was the most precious gift I could have gotten,’ she said. “That person is truly my hero.”
Although Burgess may never know the true circumstances of how the young adult died or who that person is ever, she has written a letter to the family of the deceased thanking them for the love, care, and compassion when she received the heart of their loved one.
Organ donation is quite simple for the person whose organs they themselves want to donate, it as easy as checking the yes box when you go to get your driver’s license. Making sure your family, friends and physician know your intentions of being a donor is another way to let everyone know your intentions.
All people are potential organ donors irrespective of their age. Only they must let their family know that they wish to become a donor or check the yes box on organ donation when they go to renew their divers license.
After their death, every patient and every organ are assessed individually. If it is found that the organ is healthy and functioning normally, then donation is certainly possible.
Organs can be obtained from young donors as well as from adults in their 90s according to the National Donor Network. Thus, the patient’s medical history is more significant than the age. If active cancer, active HIV or active infections are present, then donation has to be canceled. In case of Hepatitis, some detailed data is essential at the time of death. Those having Hepatitis B or C may donate organs to patients afflicted with the same.
It is quite practical for a living person to donate a kidney or a part of the liver, lung or pancreas. Such living donations are managed by individual transplant centers where the recipient is present.
There are over 2,275 heart transplants done in the United States each year, as of this date there is 3,180 people in the United States in need of a heart transplant.
“I just want to really get more people to donate organs as its means so much to so many people, “said