Mum listens to late daughter’s heartbeat
“Taylor was a giving, wonderful person, and I looked at Tara, and we knew exactly that’s what Taylor would do”, said Taylor's father after her accidental death. He was referring to their family's decision to donate Taylor's heart to someone who desperately needed it. Watch as Taylor's mum hears her heartbeat for the first time post-donation, and learn about organ donation in Singapore.
Tragedy struck Tara Storch and her family on a skiing trip to Colorado. Her 13-year-old daughter Taylor accidentally tumbled backwards and hit a tree. Within a day doctors had determined that Taylor was brain dead.
The family was devastated when they heard the news, but they didn’t waste a moment when the doctors asked them if they wanted to donate Taylor’s organs. Todd Storch, Taylor’s father said “Taylor was a giving, wonderful person, and I looked at Tara, and we knew exactly that’s what Taylor would do”.
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Meanwhile in Arizona, a 39-year-old woman named Patricia Winters who had been suffering from cardiomyopathy for nearly 5 years, had almost given up hope.
Her condition had got so bad that she found herself sleeping for almost 18 hours a day. She was too weak to do any household activities or be with her 2 young sons. Soon Patricia underwent heart transplant surgery – during which she received Taylor’s heart.
Although the organ donor details were undisclosed, certain events transpired to make the almost impossible come true.
Through a neighbour who searched the internet tirelessly, the Storch family’ found a link to Patricia Winters. And just 6 months after Taylor passed away, Todd and Tara were finally able to hear their late daughter’s heart beating again!
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Continue onto the next page to watch the poignant video of when Tara hears her daughter’s heart beating again…
When Todd and Tara finally met Patricia, the trio formed a circle and hugged each other quietly. Watch their entire meeting in this video.
How organ donation saves lives
Through organ donation, Taylor not only saved Patricia’s life, but the lives of four others. And since then, her parents have become avid advocates for organ donation and dedicated a website to help other families who find themselves in a similar position as they were in.
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Although many of us support the cause of organ donation, very few of us know how to go about it. Transplantation is known to be one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of medicine.
Unfortunately thousands of people around the world die waiting for a donor organ that never comes. These could be people with heart abnormalities and various other heart problems, lung problems, kidney failure, and burn victims who need skin transplants.
Needless to say a donated heart or kidney will be a new lease on life for many of these people. The US Department of Health and Human Services reported that last year donors alone made more than 28,000 transplants possible in the US.
The situation in Singapore
Here in Singapore, The Ministry of Health (MOH) has endorsed The Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA) to encourage organ donation.
The MOH website states this about HOTA: "The Human Organ Transplant Act allows for the kidneys, heart, liver and corneas to be removed in the event of death from any cause for the purpose of transplantation. From 1 November 2009, HOTA will cover all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents 21 years old and above, who are not mentally disordered, unless they have opted out. The upper age limit of 60 years has been removed."
Despite this Act, the number of organs donated for transplantation are very low here. In an article published in The Straits Times in March this year, it states that there are more than 500 people waiting for an organ transplant.
Of these, 457 are on the National Kidney Transplant waiting list while on dialysis. Another 23 are in the queue for new livers. Thirteen are there for hearts and 23 for corneas.
Desperation for organs has driven some people overseas to sometimes spending huge amounts for a donor organ. Some even resort to receiving illegal organs.
Illegal organ trafficking is a huge concern in the region and seems to be worsening due to the huge demand it receives.
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How you can play a part in solving this issue
In the above-mentioned Straits Times article, Professor A. Vathsala, who heads the Division of Nephrology and the Adult Renal Transplantation Programme at the National University Hospital, felt that apart from having on-going education, there is a need to "encourage our society to be generous and altruistic".
She said: "Family members must especially realise that living donor kidney transplantation may be the best option for many patients with kidney failure. Our evaluation process is very stringent and we allow only fit donors to donate a kidney and would not put them at risk."
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Your generosity will literally save the lives of 1 or more people!
It will possibly give a child ailing with severe lung disease, a chance to realize their dreams; a mum suffering from kidney disease a chance to watch her kids grow; a loving husband and dad with heart failure a chance to embrace his family again.
Think about it. Life is so uncertain it could be us on that dreaded waiting list, hoping desperately for some generous person to change OUR lives!
We hope this article educates you about organ donation. If you have faced a situation regarding organ donation, please leave us a comment below.