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Wilson's disease, a rare genetic disorder, ravaged the liver of wife and mother of three Patricia Broussard in winter 2008. After receiving a lifesaving liver transplant on Feb. 8, 2009, she immediately volunteered to be an ambassador for Donate Life California. In the short time since her transplant, she has worked to lobby Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and members of the California legislature to pass legislation supporting organ donation.
“My knowledge of organ transplantation came courtesy of Grey’s Anatomy and the ill-fated love story of Denny Duquette and Izzie Stevens,” said Patrice Broussard. “That scenario seemed so irrelevant to me. Never did I imagine that I, too, would be someone in need of an organ transplant.
“Last year, I was a seemingly healthy 32-year-old wife and mother of three. Little did I know that my body was killing me from the inside out. My killer was Wilson’s disease, a rare genetic disorder that prevents the body from getting rid of extra copper.”
Patrice began showing symptoms of Wilson’s disease around Thanksgiving 2008. Within two months, she was in the hospital with a team of doctors trying to figure out why her liver was failing. Because of the severity of her condition, Patrice was listed as Status 1 on the transplant list, and everything moved quickly. A match was found within hours, and the next day, she received her new liver.
“Everyone told me that it was a miracle that I received my new liver so quickly. I am truly grateful for my second chance at life, but am saddened that on February 8, 2009, (the date of my surgery), at least 18 people died waiting for their miracle. It also meant that someone had to die to give me life,” she acknowledged.
One month post-op, Patrice signed up online to become an ambassador with Donate Life California. Two months after surgery, she was lobbying Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and members of the California legislature, urging the members to support the organ donation legislation before them. Three months later, at a New Kids on the Block, concert, she told Donnie Wahlberg her story. She showed him her transplant scar and placed a green Donate Life bracelet on his wrist. Later that night, he wore the bracelet during the concert.
“It’s said that God works in mysterious ways, and I am a firm believer of that,” said Patrice. “I am a living, breathing testimonial of how organ donation works. I believe that part of my calling in life is to raise awareness for the growing need for organ donation.”
Do you want to honor a transplant recipient whom you know: a transplant recipient, a heroic donor family, transplant team? You can have a rose dedicated to be placed on the 2010 Rose Parade Float Family Circle Garden. To learn more and how to honor that special hero by visiting the Donate Life Family Circle.
The Donate Life Rose Parade Float is the world's largest organ donation awareness event to encourage individuals to learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation then register to be a donor. In California, please visit Donate Life California - in other states please click HERE.