April Fools Day is usually a fun day for a lot of people. But for Diana Robinson, April 1 is an exceptionally happy day. It is the anniversary of a surgery she had five years ago that saved her life.
Diana had been diagnosed with liver disease in 1990. The condition got progressively worse until finally in 2004 she was told her liver was failing and she needed a liver transplant.
“Getting placed on the transplant waiting list isn’t easy and it’s hard while you wait,” said Robinson, a surgical unit secretary at St. Francis Hospital – Indianapolis.
About three months after being put on the list, she received a call but the donor liver was not viable so her brief glimpse of hope was quashed. But then on April Fools Day she got the call assuring her it was no joke and she had an hour to arrive at the hospital.
“I have not had the honor of meeting the donor family,” said Robinson. “But I am extremely grateful. Every day I wake up happy to know I have another day of life thanks to them … Now I can work full-time and have a full life.”
Robinson is one of many whose lives have been saved or affected by organ donations. St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is joining with Donate Life Indiana throughout April in observance of National Donate Life Month. Annually, about 30,000 Americans’ lives are saved through organ donations. But the waiting list continues to grow, according to Donate Life Indiana. Nationally, more than 101,000 are awaiting organs or tissue; nearly 1,100 of those people reside in Indiana.
When asked what she would say to potential donors, Robinson said, “All they need to do is ask, what if it happened to me or to someone I love?” Robinson was a registered donor before her liver transplant. “I’m still a donor because there are so many other things that could help someone: skin, eyes, other tissue,” said Robinson.
Indiana has responded to the need for organ donations. In 2009, 145 Hoosiers were donors. However, an estimated 1,200 people in Indiana are on waiting lists to receive a life-saving transplant according to Donate Life Indiana. For more information about becoming a donor, visit donatelifeindiana.org.
Joe Stuteville, St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, contributed to this article.