Organ donors in Nevada saving other lives

Las Vegas Review-Journal | Steven Moore

Canyon Springs High School English teacher Martin Vece poses in his classroom on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. Vece wears a left ventricular assist device while he waits for a heart transplant. Daniel Clark/Las Vegas Review-Journal

Martin Vece's life expectancy is less than other 45-year-olds in Nevada, even if he gets the heart transplant he needs.

The Canyon Springs High School English teacher is among about 560 Nevadans awaiting a transplant, their lives interrupted because less invasive treatments will not cure their ills.

Transplant patients face medical challenges and ongoing financial burdens that multiply exponentially when a donor organ becomes available.

But don't buy into a common misconception that potential recipients are just waiting for someone to die.

Wearing a left ventricular assist device that keeps his heart functioning, Vece is back at work after nearly a year off.

"In a way, my life is on hold because I need this transplant," the father of three girls said. "But I can't stop living. I can't stop playing with my girls. I'm going to keep doing everything I can until that call comes." Continue reading