Heart donors give ultimate Valentine's Day gift - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Heart donors give ultimate Valentine's Day gift

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Sarah Theobald, 16, went to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital for a routine heart valve replacement three years ago. She didn't make it through surgery.

"At that time it was hard but we knew we was saving people's lives by donating her organs," says her father Richard Taylor.

Organ donation was a program Theobald's family says she advocated for even as a teenager, so her family is carrying that on for her. Her mother, Katherine Taylor, says, "We like to honor her in everything we do every day and we continue her mission of helping others."

They were at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital recruiting people to sign up to become an organ donor. It was one of 14 Mid-South hospitals competing on Valentine's Day to see which could sign up the most people.

"If you die then where do you go from there? You have the ability to save approximately eight more people. Let your legacy go on. Save a life," says Zola Burgess with the Mid-South Transplant Foundation.

Burgess says there are 117,000 people currently on the national organ donor waiting list and a name is added to it every 11 minutes. Every day 18 people die waiting for an organ transplant donation, according to her.

Bill Sayle was almost one of those statistics. But an organ donor, like Theobald, saved his life.

"I'd be six feet in the ground. I'd be dead right now," says Sayle, "I am a recipient going on 15 years with a heart transplant."

At the end of the day, Le Bonheur signed up 30 new organ donors and found 250 already registered donors.

Sign up to become a donor on the Mid-South Transplant Foundation's website and learn what it means to be a donor.

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