Happy National Donor Day!02/10/2022
Feb. 14 is most well known as Valentine’s Day, but here at Donor Network of Arizona, we like to celebrate National Donor Day and Valventine’s Day!
We recognize the wonderful gift of heart and heart valve donation. In 2021, 396 heart valves were donated, and more than 60 heart transplants were completed in Arizona alone.
Additionally, according to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there were a record-breaking 40,000 transplants in a single year. That is an amazing record to achieve, and it’s all thanks to the generosity of donors and their families, the hard work of health care staff, and countless other people involved in the donation and transplantation journey.
Just one National Donor Day certainly does not seem enough, but we want to extend our gratitude and celebrate all of the amazing donors who have changed countless lives and futures. Organ, eye and tissue donors share the gift of life with others, which is possibly the most priceless and selfless gift there is. For many of these recipients, and their families, donation is the only thing that gives them hope to have the future they deserve and so desperately wish for. When you choose to register as a donor, you are allowing someone to dream of a life that goes beyond hospital or dialysis walls, and live a life that comes with freedom and opportunity.
Love comes from the (donated) heart
One of these grateful recipients is Malaya Soares. Her family learned early on in her young life just how important this gift would be. Malaya was born with dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that prevents her from having proper blood flow. This prevented Malaya from experiencing things that any other child might be able to do.
Malaya carries the same mutated gene as her mother, Mia Welch, who is a heart recipient herself. While sharing this disease strengthened the bond between the mother and daughter duo, it also meant that Mia knew just how vital it would be for Malaya to get a new heart as quickly as possible.
Luckily, after 14 long days of waiting, Mia got the call that they had a heart ready for Malaya. Now, Malaya has a new heart and is a healthy, happy and smart little girl.
Malaya’s future would be uncertain if it was not for her amazing donor and their choice to give her the gift of a bright future.