NATIONAL DONATE LIFE MONTH-COLUMBUS, OH -ORGAN DONATION SAVES BUCKEYE
"I wouldn't be here if it was not for an organ donor. It's a second chance at life," said OSU graduate Morgan Mathews. She received a liver transplant at the age of 19 and now works at OSU Medical Center.
Mathews was born with a genetic liver disease, and at the age of 18, in her freshmen year of college she became very ill. She needed a new liver and had to be put on the National Transplant Waiting List.
A transplant was found in a few months but waiting was still hard, Mathews said.
"It's stressful because you know there is a medicine or cure out there, but a complete stranger has to say you can have it," she says.
After her surgery, Mathews completed an associate's degree at another college before coming to OSU to study, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreational Therapy.
Since graduating she has been working at OSU Medical Center in Dodd Hall, working with patients recovering from brain injury.
Mathews said her firsthand experience with surgery is useful in assisting patients.
"I feel I have a connection with patients because I was one myself," she said.
This April, Mathews has been celebrating National Donate Life Month with other transplant recipients.
A big reason for the month is raising awareness that a large number of people need transplants, including younger people, which some might not think of when thinking of someone waiting for an organ, she said.
"When I went back to college people, were surprised to find out I had a transplant because I was so healthy," Mathews says.
She helps other people needing transplants by volunteering with Lifeline of Ohio, meeting with new transplant recipients, giving media interviews and attending health fairs.