SPOKANE, Wash. - With love on the mind for Valentine's Day, its also a day to celebrate the love of being alive and getting a second chance on National Donor Day. Spokane resident Donald White celebrated two years after a successful kidney and pancreas transplant with the doctors and nurses on his transplant team at Sacred Heart Medical Center.
In 2011 he had been told by doctors that his kidneys were failing and he would need a transplant to continue living.
"It was scary, I was thinking about my whole life," said White.
It took five years on the organ donation waiting list and five years of daily dialysis before White found a match.
When the call finally came in 2016, White and his doctors had only hours to get to the donor and bring the organs back to Spokane.
Dr. Okechukwy Ojogho, the head of Sacred Heart's transplant services department was the one to perform the surgery on White. White was the hospital's very first kidney and pancreas transplant patient.
"Every organ that can be donated, any one who can do anything to help someone else is absolutely needed," said Ojogho.
Currently he says there is currently an organ donation waiting list of more than 100,000 individuals and its constantly growing. Meantime there are only enough for around 12,000 to 15,000 transplant surgeries each year.
"Donors are life savers," Ojogho.
He says he encourages folks to sign up to become a donor, its as easy as adjusting it on your drivers license. He also says there an push for more live donors, people who want to help others and are willing to donate an organ of which they have two, such as kidneys.
For more information on Sacred Heart's services click here.
Meantime, White received a clean bill of health today at his check-up and will go on to live a happy life, filled with love for his wife.
"I have a second chance and I could live for another 40-50 years," said White.