LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas mother wants to share her message about the importance of organ donation.
April is National Donate a Life Month and a time to spread awareness about organ, eye, and tissue donation.
More than five years ago, Eileen Gilbeault donated her kidney to her daughter Hailee. Today, her daughter is thriving and healthy and wants to educate the community on becoming an organ donor as she knows not everyone is as lucky to get a match.
Hailee Dale was just 17 years old when her kidneys started to fail and she had to start dialysis. Luckily she only had to wait a year for a kidney transplant because it turned out her mom was a match.
“I had no energy and I was going to high school at the time and working and having dialysis three to four times a week so it was draining and very exhausting. Having that energy back so quickly just shows how sick I was and what a difference it made. That alone is worth it to donate, just seeing that person back to 100%, normal and living life,” Dale said.
While the process was lengthy, intense, and full of anticipation, Gilbeault said it’s rewarding to see the impact of the donation, not just for the recipient but for the donor too.
“I would just encourage everybody to donate. It is truly life-changing, not just for the recipient but the donor as well. I can’t even imagine what she would be suffering had it not been for that donation,” Gilbeault said. “Donating to my daughter, no brainer, but people just saying hey I’m healthy I have two kidneys, I have no problem donating to somebody I don’t even know, those were the ones who are really surprising.”
Gilbeault said she had to undergo extensive physical and mental tests as a donor to ensure she would be healthy before and after donating her kidney. She said if you are thinking about becoming an organ donor, it’s important to be on top of your health and to review all of your options.
If you’d like to become one, there are many resources available for you in the community including Nevada Donor Network.