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The Power To Donate Life

The phrase ‘donating life’ is a difficult one to wrap your head around. Is it the act of volunteering and giving your time, or is it as concrete as giving birth to a child? Well, it is none of those things.

You don’t need to be a superhero to give a sick kid the opportunity to live a long and happy life, but you can be an organ donor. Being an organ donor does not take quality away from your own life, it gives a lifetime of quality and memories to someone in need.

When Trine Engebretsen was a baby, locals knew she was a ‘Florida baby’ by the tan she had, but a worried mother took her to the doctor where, at Boston Children’s Hospital, she found out her tan was a rare and fatal liver condition.

There was only one surgeon in the entire country willing to attempt a liver transplant on a child. The mother and daughter traveled to Pittsburg where Trine was evaluated and became s 1/50 children on the waiting list for a liver.

Her mother was an advocate for children awaiting an organ, and started the American Council on Transplantation; there was a national need for organ donors.

An organ donor, Amanda, was a blood match for Trine. Despite psychiatrists in Pittsburg telling her mother that “your child is better off if allowed to die” because of the potential mental handicaps the surgery could bring, Trine received the surgery.

The transplant statistics gave Trine a 30% chance for 6 month survival; she was Florida’s first liver transplant in history.

If it wasn’t for Trine’s mother’s strength and determination, many organ donors, hospitals, or even people educating others on organ donation, Trine would not be here today. Her story is one of many success stories of fulfilled and happy lives of an organ recipient.

We all have the power to donate life and give children like Trine the life they deserve. Learning more about organ donation is the first step to making a difference; we all have something to give.

Trine Engebretsen, M.D., M.S., is a general surgery resident in the department of surgery at the Medical Center of Central Georgia and Mercer University School of Medicine.

She also was general manager of Transplant Australia Inc. and served as Assistant Director for the 2004 Australian Transplant Games. She served as transplant ambassador for the National Kidney Foundation at the U.S. Transplant Games and as co-chair of “Life 101,” a high-school donor education program.

To learn more about Trine’s emotional and moving story, watch HERE