Posted at: 02/18/2013 6:08 PM
By: Brianna Long
Need of Organ Donors Remains Great
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- A record number of heart transplants were performed in Minnesota in 2012. That includes, in Rochester. Thirty eight heart transplants were done at Mayo in Rochester. Doctors want to emphasize that there are still thousands of people on waiting lists. Alyssa Sandeen is one of those people.
When Alyssa was eight years old, she underwent a heart transplant.
"They call it Cardio Myopathy," said Alyssa.
That new heart served her well for years. But three years ago, she found out the anti-rejection drugs she was taking for her heart were affecting her kidney, and she was forced to have another surgery.
"I have my mom's kidney," said Alyssa.
Her story doesn't end there. Alyssa is currently at Mayo waiting for yet another transplant a second heart.
"At first when I was told I needed a new heart, it was a little scary. I cried, the normal reaction. But now I just want to get it done with. I feel pretty good right now, btu I want to feel more normal, so that I can feel like everyone else," she said.
She manages to keep a very positive attitude.
"God only gives you what you can handle and that just means that I'm strong enough to handle this," said Alyssa.
But she can't help but wonder when it will be her turn.
"Every time I see a helicopter go by, I'm like oh, that's my heart!"
"We're worried about her. So much so, that we don't want to let her out of the hospital because we're afraid that she'll have another heart attack out of the hospital," said Dr. Richard Daly, the Surgical Director of Heart Transplantation at Mayo.
Alyssa is just one of many patients waiting for a new heart. Doctors say, it highlights the need for more organ donors.
"Sometimes they'll be here for months because the donors are so hard to come by. It's frustrating just wishing we could do something to make it shorter," said Daly.
Alyssa is now an organ donor herself. After she gets her heart, she wants to encourage others to do the same.
"You can either throw your organs away, or would you rather give it to someone. Well obviously, you'd rather save a life and give it to someone, then just letting it go to waste," said Alyssa.
Alyssa says after she gets her heart, she wants to get back to home life, dancing, and go on a big vacation. If you are interested in learning more about organ donation, you can visit http://www.donatelifemidwest.org/mn/.