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Recipient Stories

Dancing For My Donor

Michaela_8779During my eighth grade winter break, I was doing what all competitive dancers did on every school break – dancing all day, every day. As we ran through our jazz routine again, I thought the pain in my knee just was from the hours of dancing. I recounted my steps and realized it had started hurting after landing a leap kind of funky. I sat out the rest of practice and iced it, but it didn’t help.  In the coming days my parents took me to the doctor, and an MRI showed I had torn my meniscus.

My doctor presented with me with three options. I could go through rehab to strengthen my knee, utilize donor tissue to repair my knee or have my meniscus completely removed. We automatically declined the third option because it meant not dancing again. We had never heard of using donor tissue in a repair surgery, so we opted for rehab.

After a few weeks of physical therapy, there was no improvement and I was still not dancing.

My parents could tell I was frustrated, so they began to research and educate themselves about the surgery using donor tissue. They spoke with my doctor and neighbors of ours who are doctors and nurses. They scoured the internet for answers. We collectively came to the solution that the allograft surgery, where donor tissue would be used, was the best way to repair my injury.

Surgery was scheduled for Tuesday, January 10, 2006. The transplant went smoothly and six months later, with physical therapy, I returned to the dance floor! I fully immersed myself in dance because I was so happy and grateful I could dance pain free!

One of the biggest successes of my transplant was winning national title for my solo routine in July 2007! If it had not been for my donor’s life-enhancing gift, that would not have been a reality.

My transplant didn’t just allow me to dance again – it helped in all facets of my life. I was able to attend The Ohio State University and walk across campus pain free. During my time at Ohio State, I volunteered at the OSU Wexner Medical Center and I went to a presentation by Lifeline of Ohio. I was really excited when I found a way to promote the importance of organ and tissue donation and honor the gift my donor gave me by becoming a volunteer for such a great organization.

Because a selfless person said yes to be a donor, my dreams of dancing with my best friends for hours on end and attending The Ohio State University came true. Encourage your friends and family to join the Ohio Donor Registry today!


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