Nancy Minney doe.st worry about how much longer she has to live.
At age 12, Minney was diagnosed with Type I diabetes and knew she would never have children and her body would begin to deteriorate. In 2007, at age 43, she found out her pancreas and kidneys were in bad shape.
A steer's carotid artery was placed in Minney's arm to aid in dialysis treatments, and she was placed on the organ transplant list.
"Dialysis was kind of depressing to me. After they take your blood out with one needle, they clean it and then put it back in with another needle," she said, adding that it was very tiring.
Like 106,000 others across the nation on the transplant list, Minney waited. Although often times it takes months or even years of waiting, Minney got a call in less than two months.
"It was a Saturday and I was on my way to dialysis. It was 11 a.m. and the phone rang. My husband said don't answer it because we had to get to dialysis. ...For some reason, I picked up the phone," she said.
The call was from the Ohio State University Medical Center informing her of a potential match and directing her to get to the hospital as soon as possible. Once a potential match is detected, there's a window of four to six hours to get the transplant done.
"We were so nervous and so excited. You walk around in circles and just don't know what to do," Minney said.
Within a week after the procedure, Minney went home. Each day, she takes two anti-rejection medications and 10 other medications, some as part of the transplant and others for the diabetes.
Thursday, Minney shared her story with eighth- through 12th-grade health classes at Zane Trace. She and a Lifeline of Ohio representative talked to students about the need, the process and how to make a definitive choice.
People can choose to be an organ donor by saying "yes" when getting an Ohio driver's license or they can sign up through Lifeline's website.
A single donation after death can save as many as eight people and provide healing tissue for up to 50 people.
"It really is a second chance for (recipients) to do the things they want to do," said Lauren Fitting, Lifeline community outreach/ partnerships coordinator.
A myriad of factors contribute to the disparity between those waiting and the number of donors. One involves the fact that a donor has to die in a hospital for his or her organs to be transplanted, and not all organs from a donor are well enough to be transferred. Also, the tissue and blood type has to match someone with a need who is geographically close enough.
Minney realizes how lucky she is. She has been able to return to work, school and volunteering, all things her health had interrupted.
Within a few weeks after the transplant, she wrote a "thank you" to be sent to the donor family via Lifeline, which also coordinates transplants within Ohio.
"The part that is still hard for me is someone had to die for me to live ... I can't explain how happy I am about (the donation). How appreciative and thankful I am, there aren't words."