A few small scars. Those are the only physical reminders Laura Sammon-Linton, a human resources assistant at HCA-affiliate Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, sees to remind her of the life-saving gift she shared with a family member. A few small scars, and a healthy sister.

At an early age, Laura’s younger sister, Tinamarie, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes – a condition, their mother, a registered nurse and diabetes educator, explained would likely require a kidney transplant in the future. Thirty years later, their mother’s prediction came true.

“My sister was frightened and devastated,” Laura said. “I told her not to worry – we would get through this together. At that time, I had no idea what it would mean for my future.”

What she did know, however, is a sister’s bond is unbreakable. Six months after her sister learned her kidneys were failing, Laura, who started at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point as a volunteer, donated one of hers.

“Post-transplant I was very tired and sore,” she said. “I recovered at home for one month, and within six months, I was feeling like my normal self.”

There are currently more than 100,000 individuals listed on the transplant waiting list for a kidney transplant alone. Last year, 17,878 Americans received a kidney transplant and 5,986 of those lives were saved as a result of a living donor.

“Do your homework,” Laura urged. “This is a major surgery. You are going to be tired while your body adjusts to life with one kidney. In spite of that, it was a good choice for me.”

Laura added that, for her sister, she would go through the process all over again without hesitation.

Every 10 minutes a new name is added to the national transplant waiting list.  Unfortunately, 22 people die every day in the United States waiting on a life-saving transplant.

That’s why Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point is participating in a campaign to Let Life Bloom through organ donation during April’s Donate Life Month.

Not everyone will have the opportunity to be a living donor like Laura, but many lives can be impacted simply by saying “yes” to donation.

“Why throw away life-saving organs when they could do so much good for others?” Laura asked rhetorically.

Visit Donate Life here to learn how you could potentially save eight lives through organ donation and impact dozens more as a tissue donor.

Reg Med Bayonet Point_Donate Life

(L-R) Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point Human Resources Assistant and organ donor Laura Sammon-Linton and sister and donor recipient Tinamarie Sammon

By Guest Blogger: Brandi Ahonsi, public affairs coordinator, LifeLink Foundation