Taylor Fleming's family chooses tissue and bone donation
Taylor Fleming's family has decided to honor her life by donating her eyes, bone, and tissue to help others who are waiting for transplants. And as our Candace Hopkins found out, that generous gesture is now helping highlight the need for more organ donors throughout the state.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It's every parent's worst nightmare: their child being taken away by tragedy. But now Taylor Fleming's family will help keep her memory alive by donating her eyes, tissue and bone to help others.
Here in New York State, the need for organ and tissue donations is overwhelming, with almost 10,000 people currently on transplant wait lists. That's according to Rob Kochik, the Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network.
"The process begins for organ donation when we receive a call from one of the doctors or nurses at the hospital and they tell us they're taking care of a patient, that has been admitted to the hospital with significant brain injury," said Kochik.
It's at that point that many families are forced to make a painful decision to keep their loved-one alive using life support or to end that care and donate their organs.
After doctors determined Fleming was lacking any brain function, her family decided to donate her eyes, tissue and bone, a gift that can help several people.
"For tissue donation, eye donation for cornea transplants, have been done more than one hundred years, and someone can also donate their bone from their arms and their legs, their pelvis, or we can also donate skin and help patients who have suffered from burns," says Kochik.
Kochik says more organ donors are always needed, and they are constantly working to correct false ideas about the process.
"Many people think that it's only patients who are young, and are involved in car accidents that can be organ donors, when in fact we don't really have an upper age limit, so people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s can also be organ donors and tissue donors," said Kochik.
The hope is that stories like Taylor's, and the countless lives her donation will touch, will inspire others to give their own gift of life.