Jackie Hopkins, Organ Donation, Donor Network West
In the wake of her daughter Kate’s passing, we will talk about the beautiful legacy she has left on other lives in the way of organ donation.
Jackie and Dena have been kindred spirits walking the same path as they have both lost their daughters two weeks apart in March of 2014.
When Kate turned 18 she was looking through DMV paperwork and she decided to be an organ donor. But she just chose to donate her organs only. This decision was based upon a conversation she had with her mother prior to her decision. She wanted to help someone in the lieu of her passing.
Jackie shares how you can delineate what you want to donate. Heart, bones, eyes, tissue, organs etc. You can tailor it to your desires.
Kate went to Yosemite on Spring Break and was long-boarding and fell and she was found with no heart beat and was unresponsive. Paramedics got her heart working again and they tried brain surgery and was declared brain dead.
There are about 150,000 people in the United States waiting for organs to become available.
When a donor becomes available they need to do all sorts of tests and matching. When Kate passed, it took two days for all of the matching to be done and they had a match in two days.
Dena wants to acknowledge the polarity of experiencing grief and simultaneously giving live to one or more people.
Jackie says she had to find something good in the tragedy and that is what she found.
Kate’s major organs were all being donated. Heart, kidneys, pancreas, liver, eyes and tissue.
To be a deceased donor, you basically have to die in the hospital because the organs cannot be deprived of oxygen. The heart has to be pumping blood as well.
Kate did donate to three people that Jackie knows of. Her heart and one kidneys went to a 50 year old man in Sacramento.
And the other kidneys and pancreas went to a woman with diabetes. She is no longer a diabetic and she is no longer on dialysis.
Her liver went to a man in Bakersfield and they have not heard from him lately but they have heard from the other two.
The donor network will act as the intermediary between the donors and the recipients.
Are recipient of the heart, wrote us a letter within two weeks. They met with him. He is doing great. He has a full time job and is doing work with the boy scouts. He is active and living his life. She met him in person. They hugged and she could feel his heart beat!
Even though this was a tragedy, she helped a lot of people. It was nice to make a connection and that is what life is about.
We want the empower people to be life changing individuals while they are alive and to leave a legacy even in a passing.
She gets a mother’s day card every year from one of the recipients who received the gift of life. But at the same time, they feel a level of guilt. They don’t want to celebrate so it is tricky. Pull both ways.
It is a dichotomy. You grieve but you also find joy. The pain doesn’t go away but it changes. You live simultaneously with joy and pain. And it gets easier.
Jackie is a volunteer now with Donor Network West who matches people in need with organ donation. Each year there are 20-30,000 people needing organ donations.
Jackie’s position is about educating people on organ donation. Give them facts so they can make an informed decision. She usually speaks at high school and she encourages students to talk to their parents. When you are in the hospital and death is eminent, it is NOT the time to decide whether you will donate organs or not.
Donations can be made while you are alive. Kidney donor. Partial liver donation. It is not as common in the United States.
Jackie tells of the incredible story of a woman who needed a heart. She got the heart and lungs from a donor and they took her heart and gave it to someone else and they are both doing fantastic!
Common asked questions, if I am in an accident and I am an organ donor, will I just be cast aside? Absolutely not! You will get the best of care for everything! She went to the front of every line.
Colleen says that she checked the box on her drivers license that she wanted to be an organ donor. Once that is done, you go into a National Database and it is all organized by birth date. The list is anonymous. You can go online and update what you want for your donation.
Age is not a limit, There is no discrimination due to age or illness. Babies can be organ donors as well.
iSoulify encourages you to pay attention to organ donation and revisit your desires with everyone in the family.
Recipients have to take anti-rejection drugs the rest of their lives. Organ donation is not a free ticket, organs can fail and organs can get rejected.
Recipients have to go through extensive psychological testing and counseling to make sure they will be able to handle receiving.
Kidney donation has the highest survival rate. People waiting for kidneys can use dialysis while they are waiting.
24 people die everyday waiting for an organ to become available.
Sometimes geography can be an issue. You may receive an organ in Hawaii perhaps!
Organ Procurement Organizations. OPO. Each state is different in the amount of OPO’s they may have. California has four and they are based on population. $13 million people are in each OPO.
California has more than 24,000 people on the waiting list. More than 20% of the organ needs are right here!
Thank you for sharing the vulnerability of your heart with us.
Organ Donation is not for everyone and that is ok!
Philosophy: I will do what I can do and you do what you can do and the world will be in a much better place.