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Donate Life NC Intern Pays it Forward

My name is Emily Newton. I had the distinct honor of interning with Donate Life NC this summer, and so I get to write this blog post about myself! When I was 15 years old I was in the best shape of my life, working out twice a day to train for my hopeful college basketball career. I began to gain weight, feel extremely tired and mentally foggy. I couldn’t stay awake for more than an hour at a time. I ignored my symptoms for a long time because I wanted to reach my goal of playing basketball in college. I finally went to the doctor but was misdiagnosed with a severe case of mono. Thinking I was fine and needed to push through my aggressive symptoms, I kept working out and going to class. My grades dropped, I wasn’t eating and I was barely able to communicate. I finally went back to the doctor after a week of migraines, a seizure and daily nosebleeds. My eyes and skin had turned bright yellow and I had gained 50 lbs in 23 days. When I went back to the doctor for a full blood panel, we were called back with news that shocked us. Doctors were shocked that I was alive. My liver was at 0% function. I was rushed to the hospital and quickly told I had 24 hours to live and needed a liver transplant. Doctors did a few more tests to discover I had a rare genetic disease called Wilsons Disease. This disease build up copper in the bloodstream, overloads the liver, breaks down the cells and eventually causes them to not be able to do their job of filtering toxins out of the body. The chances of a liver coming available in that small window were small. Because of my condition, a partial transplant was not an option. My family prayed and had faith that I would live and within 14 hours, a PERFECT match (which is extremely rare) became available. I had my liver transplant on March 6, 2010 and lived to tell you all about it! My family and I are forever thankful for Duke Hospital, Donate Life NC and Carolina Donor Services. Without the gift of organ donation, I would not be here today! So, be a hero and sign up to be an organ today!