DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — April is National Donate Life Month, which serves as a reminder of the enormous need for organ donation in the United States.
Last year, more than 41,000 transplants were performed in the nation, giving new life to patients — including a North Carolina mother and daughter.
Tyra Ingram was born with several heart defects.
The 19-year-old needed three major heart surgeries and a pacemaker before the age of 5.
Then last year, she remembers not feeling well.
“I was coughing a lot and I had liquid in my lungs, fluid in my lungs, and I was swelling so I called my grandma when I was in college and she took me home and then we went to the hospital,” Ingram said.
Her doctor at Duke Health said she needed a heart transplant.
Just two weeks later, a heart became available.
“With the heart transplant, I was a bit nervous for it,” Ingram said.
And it didn’t end there for her family.
Her mother, Teyanna Ingram, received a kidney transplant just weeks later.
Teyanna had been waiting for a transplant after being diagnosed with kidney failure in 2019.
Two organ transplants within a month made for a challenging recovery.
“I’m trying to take my medicine, trying to keep it up so I don’t go into rejection and then having to get things done while she’s in the hospital, that part was kind of rough but we’re much better now,” Teyanna Ingram said.
More than 100,000 people are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants in the U.S.
Unfortunately, about 20 percent die before they get one.
That’s why doctors are encouraging people to consider being an organ donor, living or deceased.
“There are more patients awaiting organ transplantation than there is of supply of donor organs to meet that need,” said Dr. Stuart Knechtle with Duke Health. “These are people that can be restored to a healthy functional life and a good quality of life.”
Thanks to organ donors, Teyanna and Tyra are doing well, traveling, and hope to make memories for years to come.
“Organ donation is very important to us,” said Teyanna Ingram. “Without somebody else, we wouldn’t have this quality of life. She wouldn’t even be here cause she had a heart transplant. I probably wouldn’t be here either because they said my kidney was really really bad. It improved my life so much, so if you can do something to help somebody else, please do so.”
If you would like to register to be a donor, click here.