Young Heart Transplant Recipient Calls Donor an "Angel"; Continues her Advocacy for Organ Donation

WAER 88.3 | Syracuse University | SCOTT WILLIS
The namesake of New York’s Lauren's Law brought her advocacy for organ donation to a Donate Life ceremony Wednesday at Upstate University Hospital. Seventeen-year-old Lauren Shields was just nine when she became a heart transplant recipient after a virus attacked her heart. She says that she thinks about her donor everyday and how her donor lives on through her.

"I think being in a hospital at such a young age was life-changing experience,"Shields said. "It was really so important for me to share my story, tell everyone what I've been through, and share how grateful I was. I realized how sick I was in the hospital. I would not have made it through that. I would have died had it not been for my donor”

Shields says she knows her donor was a four-year-old boy. She's written to his family, but has never met them.

Lauren’s law requires people applying for or renewing a driver’s license or ID to respond to the organ donor registry section. The law was set to expire in 2020, but a bill to make it permanent is awaiting a vote in the assembly. Still, only 28 percent of New Yorkers are currently registered donors compared to the 54 percent national average. Lauren Shield’s mother, Jeanne says those statistics left their family worried that Lauren would die waiting for a transplant match. Continue reading 
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