April is donate life month, and Comanche County memorial Hospital celebrated it by releasing balloons to honor those who have become organ and tissue donors.
There are over 114,000 people on the life saving organ transplant list today. Eight-hundred of those people are from Oklahoma.
“August 8, 2016, I was the recipient of a liver,” said Denise Mckenzie, liver recipient.
Mckenzie had been sick for nearly two years, and had pretty much given up hope. At one point, they thought they had a liver donor, but it got cancelled an hour before surgery. Three days later, she got word they had found another donor.
“The next Sunday night I had my transplant, and a month later I was home, healthy,” said Mckenzie. “I saw my daughter off to college and watched my son go through his senior year in high school.”
She says the act of one selfless person has changed her life forever.
“It means the rest of my life to watch my children grow and become adults and hopefully someday have grandchildren,” said Mckenzie. “I’ve gotten to live out a few of my very own dreams that I’ve had since I was a child that I had pretty much given up on”
Now she uses her life to help spread the word about organ donation and hopes her story helps others make the decision to become a registered donor.
“You don’t understand the amount of hope that you could be giving someone potentially,” said Mckenzie. “When all you have to do is sign a card and say ‘yes, I’ll donate.’”
Recently Denise has gotten in contact with her donors family, and can’t thank them enough.
“I do choose everyday to live and show the light of their loved one through me,” said Mckenzie. “I just want them to know that the legacy of their family member lives on through me. And I strive everyday to be inspirational in some way for others to have hope.”
If you would like more information on becoming an organ donor, you can go to lifeshareoklahoma.org.