The month of April has been set aside to remind us the importance of registering as an organ, eye, and tissue donor. The entire month of local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.
One Fairview woman knows that if it were not for organ donations, she would not be with us today.
Courtney Hall helps out at her family-run business, ‘Hot Dog It,’ in Fairview. But, several years ago, this would’ve been impossible. At times, back then, Courtney could barely get out of bed. Medications from a previous illness destroyed her kidneys.
She tells us, “They ran a bunch of tests and told me I had an autoimmune disease… it’s when your body attacks itself thinking it’s the infection. It damaged a lot and destroyed my kidneys.”
That meant months of dialysis, traveling back and forth to Pittsburgh several times a week.
Courtney was put on a transplant list and, to her good fortune, she got a call from the hospital saying ‘we have a kidney for you’.
“We went down there and had the transplant the next night. I told the doctor I didn’t even know I was on the list; he says, ‘you were on it less than 24 hours'”.
Courtney’s trip to Pittsburgh was necessary back then because there was no kidney transplant center in Erie. But, that’s changed now.
For the past four years, UPMC Hamot has become the only kidney transplant center in the region. State of the art facilities and much less travel.
“When you’re not feeling well and having that service here for the patient to eliminate that need to travel… We have the entire service here, surgery can be done here with our surgical team from the institute. It is truly a gift to the community and we’re proud to offer that.”
Courtney is doing fine now and every day, thanks to the man who chose to donate his kidney after his death.
This is a special month for her; a month that reminds people that donating organs can and will save lives.