Days from death and fighting for his life, 5-month-old Smith Webster received an liver transplant from an organ donation after being diagnosed with a rare liver disorder.
“Flooding into my thoughts came the hopes and dreams my husband and I had for Smith. The holidays we envisioned sharing with him and all the ‘firsts,’” said Smith’s mother Holly. “We were so close to not having any of those memories.”
Smith is just one of many lives that have been saved as a result of organ donations by Kentuckians. Last year, 324 lives were saved through Kentucky organ donations, according to a recent news release. That includes organs from 110 people. Another 327 tissue donors helped over 1,000 patients to heal.
“Stories about patients, like Smith, drive us to do this important work,” Christian Circuit Clerk Gary Haddock said in the release. “Your Circuit Clerk’s office educates all Kentuckians about the lifesaving mission of organ donation. We ask every person getting a license or ID if they would like to join the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry. No child, or spouse or grandparent or friend, should die waiting for a transplant. All of us can do something to give hope. We can register as a donor.”
The top place Kentuckians are registering as organ donors? Circuit Clerk’s offices in the state.
Nearly 24,000 Christian County residents are registered as organ donors. Statewide, 1.7 million people are registered, 53 percent of Kentuckians, the release said. Christian County also collected $3,331 for Trust for Life, a nonprofit dedicated to educating people about organ donations and helping patients in need.
Because of those donations, Smith is a happy and healthy two-year-old who had an opportunity to experience those ‘firsts’ with his family, according to his mother.
Hero Tiffany Pierce is lucky to be alive and her experience is providing other Coloradans with hope.
“Sometimes, I think it just helps the patient to hear that someone else has gone through the very road they’re going through,” said Pierce.
Pierce is a liver transplant recipient herself. In 2013, she was very sick, and running low on hope and time.
“I was given a 90 days to live,” said Pierce.
Which meant getting her affairs in order.
“I did some things with my kids, filled them in that I may not be around much longer,” explained Pierce.
But a liver transplant match was located and her surgery was a success.
“Life did a 180, which was fantastic. I got my life back,” said Pierce.
So, Pierce started volunteering at the very place that changed her life — The University of Colorado Hospital Transplant Center. She gives her time once a week, answering questions, providing hope and offering encouragement.
“Tiffany is amazing. She is able to connect with people, really, that no one else can,” said Jenny Ricklefs, Volunteer Manager, University of Colorado Hospital.
“The patients just need to get some things off their chest and that’s what I’m there for,” said Pierce.
Tiffany Pierce’s life was saved by an organ transplant and then enriched by giving back.
“Volunteering is the light of my week. This is the day I look forward to every week,” said Pierce.