The gift that keeps giving: Organ donation is a life-saver for many, including some Flagler residents

PALMCOAST OBSERVER | Colleen Michele Jones
Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2017 |   After receiving an organ donation in 2005 that ran its life, Tracy Hamilton and her husband John pray she can receive another transplant soon. Photo by Colleen Michele Jones
Tracy Hamilton is 45 years old. While still full of life in spirit, her body has betrayed that vitality over the last 20 years and counting.

She can show you the bandaged wound on her upper left arm from dialysis injections into a graft placed in her bicep that caused an infection. And the port in her right chest where that dialysis currently has to be administered, three times a week, for three and half hours at a clip, attached to a machine. She can point out, too, the scars on her legs and other parts of her body that have not healed properly. Not having a functioning renal system, which removes harmful toxins from the body, can do that.

Hamilton, originally from Chattanooga, moved to Palm Coast four years ago specifically to be closer to the Mayo Clinic of Jacksonville, the closest large regional health facility offering organ donations. Hamilton, who developed Type 1 diabetes as a 9-year-old girl, has struggled for nearly all her life to keep her health in check.

In 2002, doctors put her on a list for both a pancreatic and kidney transplant, both of which she received. Three years later, her pancreas stopped working; in 2009, she received another one. In 2011, the donated kidney she'd received began to show signs of dysfunction. Continue reading
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