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Organ Donation Saves Lives, Changes Lives

February 14 is National Donor Day, a day meant to raise awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation. Currently, there are approximately 450 people in Nebraska who are waiting for an organ transplant, according to Donate Life Nebraska, and in 2014, 36 Nebraskans died while waiting for one.

“There’s always a need for organ donors,” said Lisa Sinsel, Program and Development Director at the Nebraska Kidney Association Inc., one of Community Health Charities of Nebraska’s (CHC-NE) 18 member charities. “For my family, there is no question as to whether myself, my husband or my children would be an organ donor--it's just that simple.”

Lisa has a personal connection to organ donation, as well, as her aunt, Judy Nelson of Minden, Neb., was a living donor and selflessly donated a kidney to Lisa’s mother, who was undergoing dialysis at the time. Judy’s husband had been on dialysis for six years before getting a new kidney from a cadaver donor, and she had seen firsthand what he had gone through. She had been tested to see if she was a match for her husband, but she wasn’t.

“I thought, I can get tested for her and see if I’m a match, and unbelievably, we were,” she said.

It has been nine years since the donation, and her sister-in-law hasn’t had to do dialysis again. “I would do it again,” Judy said. “For me as the donor, I was in the hospital for three days. I had some abdominal tightness but no severe pain. There are worse things, and they need more donors.”

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