Don’t let them wait: Families encourage AZ residents to register as organ donors

CRONKITE NEWS | Ethan Millman
Carie Semenko said her 15-month-old daughter, Miela, has a good life ahead of her because she received a donor heart when she was just a few months old when she needed a heart transplant. (Photo by Ethan Millman/Cronkite News)
PHOENIX – When Carie Semenko took her infant daughter Miela to the hospital nearly a year ago, she thought they’d soon be back home. Then, doctors told her Miela needed a new heart.

Miela had an enlarged heart and spent 54 days in intensive care, including 20 days waiting for a heart transplant.

“The longest days of your entire life,” Semenko said, crying Wednesday as she remembered the heartbreak of waiting.

“You’re in this precarious place where you need someone else to save you and that’s a scary place to be,” Semenko said. “You don’t know if that call is going to come.”

Miela is now 15 months old, a new heart beating in her chest.

The Semenkos were among three families – those who donated an organ and those who received organs – who celebrated how organ donation saves lives.

One Big Day of Donation at Phoenix Children’s Hospital launched a monthlong effort during National Donate Life Month, to encourage Arizona residents and others across the country to get on the organ donation registry. Continue reading
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