ROCHESTER, Minn. - February 14th is not only Valentine's Day, but also National Donor Day. It's a day that brings awareness to need for organ, eye, tissue, blood, platelets and marrow donations.
KIMT spoke to two people at Gift of Life Transplant House whose lives are changed because someone made the decision to be a donor.
Martina Goodman is celebrating the three-year anniversary of her kidney transplant. She was in renal failure much of her life, and was close to needing to go on dialysis. Her dad donated a kidney to a complete stranger through Mayo Clinic's matched donation program, so that Martina could receive another stranger's kidney. She was even able to meet her donor and says she's a "wonderful lady."
Before her transplant, Martina had to take time off of college because the semester exhausted her and she didn't have much of an appetite. Her new kidney gave her the strength and energy to go back to school. She's currently completing her general education credits with the hopes of getting into the nursing program at Rochester Community and Technical College.
"I enjoy life a lot better now. Like before, compared to now, is just completely different," says Martina.
Victoria Wagner is currently recovering from surgery. She received a double lung transplant at the Mayo Clinic. She was adopted as a child and wasn't aware until her adult years that her birth relatives had a history of pulmonary fibrosis. Victoria was diagnosed with the disease and some additional complications.
Her condition was not going to improve, and she was going through large amounts of oxygen to survive. Her family does not currently know who her life-saving donation came from, but her husband Daniel says they hope to thank them or their family one day.
"It's a miracle that someone gave us those lungs. It's incredible," he says.
Click here to learn more about becoming a living kidney or liver donor through Mayo Clinic. The first step is a health questionnaire.