Local organ donor recipient encourages others to donate during National Donate Life Month


COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) — April is National Donate Life month. Currently, there are almost 10,000 New Yorkers who need a life-saving organ transplant.

When Kelly Reagan of Cohoes was born with Cystic Fibrosis the doctors gave her parents a grim prognosis.

“They were told I probably wouldn’t make it past my teens,” she says.

She beat the odds for three decades. But three years ago, she had to go on oxygen 24/7 and was then placed on a transplant list.

Four times she received a call that there was a donor match for a double lung transplant and to rush to the hospital.

“And then you find out that the lungs were not viable. So it was my fifth call. And I was going with the flow, but when we found it was ‘a-go’, 15 minutes later I was wheeled into surgery.”

According to the the NYS Donate Life website, almost 500 New Yorkers die every year because an organ doesn’t come in time.

Kelly is one of the lucky ones. Her November transplant was a success. Months later, she says she feels unstoppable.

“That’s the best way to describe it. The doctors asked me what I’d like to do after the transplant, and I said I just want to walk my dog.”

She knows it’s all thanks to a stranger or their family members who made a tough, but lifesaving choice for patients like her. This being Donate Life month she’s encouraging others to sign up to be organ donors.

It’s easy to do online and saves lives like hers.

“People say they’ve been given a second chance. It kind of sounds cliche after a while. You literally change someone’s life. Someone gave me life when mine was running out.”

Here’s how you can sign up to become an organ, eyes or tissue donor: https://donatelife.ny.gov/

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