Penn Highlands Healthcare Urges the Community: Help Save Lives. Become an Organ Donor

Organ Donation — Lisa Lane

Lisa Lane is shown with her husband David Lane.
Lisa Lane is shown with her husband David Lane.

DuBois, PA, April 11, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Hope comes in all shapes and sizes and everyone has different wishes. Some people desire a new vehicle, a relaxing vacation or to fulfill their career goals; while others dream of finally receiving the call that there is an organ available that could give them a better quality of life.

Lisa Lane is a wife, mother and former event/meeting planner. She enjoyed a career that took her to many exciting places. Today, her travels are limited. She cannot travel far from her dialysis provider as she awaits a donor kidney.

Lisa was diagnosed with kidney disease in June 2021. She had been experiencing bouts of nausea and was losing weight only to have tests come back inconclusive. When her white blood cell count plummeted and was virtually nonexistent, her doctor immediately ordered her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with lupus nephritis, an autoimmune disease that occurs when lupus autoantibodies affect parts of the kidneys that filter out waste. She was unaware that she had lupus because she never experienced any symptoms. Following a 21-day stay in the hospital, she began outpatient dialysis. 

“I had to drastically change my lifestyle,” Lisa explained. “Dialysis is my only activity for three and one half hours — three days a week. It makes me very tired. On the days that I do not have dialysis, I feel great. I try to lead a normal life by entertaining friends, going to cultural events or simply running errands.”
A little over a year ago, she was placed on the transplant list and now she is waiting for a call that a kidney is available.

In order to be placed on the list, a person must meet certain criteria. They must be otherwise healthy and not have any other chronic illnesses such as heart disease or cancer. The medical insurance carrier plays a role at which transplant facilities a person will be listed.

“Once my dialysis facility submitted the referral, there were many other hurdles that I had to clear,” Lisa explained. “After the transplant facility reviewed all of my medical files, I spent a whole day there meeting with surgeons, post-op teams, pharmacists, social workers, cardiology and nursing. They asked many questions about my lifestyle, home care and support mechanisms.”

During her meeting at the facility, Lisa learned about the differences between deceased donors and living donors. The average waiting period for a deceased donor is three to five years while if a living donor is found to be a match, the transplant could occur more quickly.
“In order for a living donor to qualify, there must be a blood type match,” she explained. “Unfortunately, I am type B+ and only 8% of the entire U.S. population would be a match.”

Once Lisa receives a kidney, she will need to take anti-rejection drugs the rest of her life.

“The need for a kidney transplant has significantly derailed me and my family,” she said. “I cannot travel for more than a few days and it is delaying our plans to move south.”
Throughout the U.S., approximately 100,000 people are awaiting an organ transplant with 7,000 of them living here in Pennsylvania. Every 10 minutes, someone new is added to the national transplant list, and 17 people will die every day while awaiting a transplant. Eight lives can be saved by one organ donor; and, one tissue donor can heal 75 lives.

Each April, Donate Life America (DLA) leads National Donate Life Month (NDLM), an observance focusing attention on the need and importance of organ, tissue and cornea donation. NDLM is about the importance of registering your decision to be a donor, honoring deceased and living donors and celebrating the lives they saved. It is the generosity of donors and donor families that makes saving lives through transplantation possible.

While Penn Highlands Healthcare does not perform transplants, the health system joins with the Hospital and HealthSystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) as a partner in the annual campaign to educate hospital communities on the critical need for more organ, tissue and cornea donors and to encourage individuals to register as donors.

You can help people like Lisa who are waiting for an organ, eye or tissue donation by becoming a donor. For online registration in Pennsylvania, visit donatelifepa.org. You can also become a donor when you renew your driver’s license in person, or online at dmv.pa.gov. Once you register, please tell your loved ones about your decision so that if the time comes, they will not be surprised and can help carry out your wishes.

Remember, we all have the power to be there for someone!

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  • Organ Donation — Lisa Lane
CONTACT: Corinne G. Laboon Penn Highlands Healthcare 724-258-1339 claboon@monvalleyhospital.com 

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