CELINA — Ten years ago, Botkins resident Rachel Doseck became suddenly ill — and her life depended on a donation of life.
“I was 10 years old, and I got sick,” Doseck said. “I had flu-like symptoms, and within a week, I realized that I was really sick.”
She recalled how physicians first diagnosed her with pneumonia before finding she had a more serious problem.
“I found out I needed a (heart) transplant,” Doseck said. “It (my heart) was badly damaged.”
After some time atop the transplant list, she was able to receive a heart transplant.
“I waited two weeks,” Doseck said, noting that the whole process of being diagnosed to receiving her heart
transplant took approximately three months. “I was in the hospital and was on the top of the list.”
Since an organ donor saved her life, Doseck has devoted much of her time and effort to educate others about organ donation, and brought Life Connection of Ohio to Wright State University Lake Campus Tuesday afternoon to spread the word among her peers.
Lake Campus students had the opportunity to explore Life Connection of Ohio’s Donate Life Mobile Education Vehicle.
Life Connection of Ohio Community Education Specialist Derrick Duckworth said the vehicle is equipped with several educational stations that inform visitors about the different aspects of organ donation. On a tour of the Donate Life Mobile Education Vehicle, visitors get a feel for what cornea blindness feels like, learn about the history of transplantation and explore what can be donated to help save a life.
“A lot of people think if they’re not an organ donor, they don’t save lives,” Duckworth said, noting that eyes and tissue can also be donated. “Tissue donations help as well.”
According to a Life Connection of Ohio fact sheet, more than 2,000 Ohioans have their sight restored through cornea transplants each year, and more than 1 million people benefit from tissue transplants each year. A single donation can provide organs and tissue for more than 50 people, according to the fact sheet.
He noted that donors can also be living and make a donation.
“You can be a living donor and donate a partial pancreas, liver or intestine,” Duckworth said.
Ethnicity, race, gender and age, he explained, do not effect a donation.
“All that matters are tissue types and blood types,” Duckworth said.
Visitors to of the Donate Life Mobile Education Vehicle also learn that medical treatment will not suffer if a patient is a donor, families do not pay fees for a donation and organ donation does not change funeral services, among a handful of other facts at another station. Visitors then shuffle to the front of the vehicle to hear personal testimonies from organ transplant recipients, hear about the process of an organ donation and watch a video about Life Connection of Ohio’s Green Chair Campaign. Visitors can end their tour by registering to become a donor.
“Any person that comes through has the opportunity to register online if that’s what they want to do,” Duckworth said.
Doseck, now a sophomore studying communications at the Wright State University Lake Campus, said she is hoping to continue educating others about organ donation with a career in nonprofit communications.
“A lot of my friends — they see me every day, but they don’t realize how big this is to me,” Doseck said. “The ultimate goal is to get more and more people signed up for organ donation so people can get transplants. It’s about saving lives.”