DENVER (CBS4) – It seems impossible to thank someone enough for the gift of life. But on the Transplant Unit at UCHealth, there is now a way to give a ringing endorsement of a living donor’s amazing act of kindness.
On the first Monday in June, Laura Reeves rings a brand new bell on the wall of the unit. It is the sound of unselfishness. This bell tolls for Laura.
“She is a gift from God to me. She’s an angel,” said James Arnold.
An angel now, but Laura was once a stranger to James. Elizabeth Hanson brought them together.
James is Elizabeth’s father. Laura is her friend and neighbor in Highlands Ranch.
In August 2018, Elizabeth posted a desperate plea on social media for a living kidney donor for James. The 65-year-old with kidney disease was deteriorating.
“He absolutely was in a point where I didn’t see any options but to ask for help,” said Elizabeth.
Seventeen people began testing, including Laura, a wife and mother of four children. For years, she had considered live organ donation.
“When I read her note, I just knew now was the time to try,” she said.
Laura was a match, but James was reluctant to accept her lifesaving gift.
“We talked to our pastor and he said, ‘You know God’s got a plan. Just get out of the road and let’s use the donor that he’s got specified for you’,” said James.
When James left the transplant unit, he rang a special bell to give thanks for his miracle. But something was missing.
“We realized there wasn’t anything for Laura to celebrate,” said Elizabeth.
That got the Arnold family clamoring for Laura’s Bell. It’s a first of its kind, a donor bell to honor and thank all the heroes and it’s a way to encourage others to consider the gift of life.
Nationwide, more than 113,000 people are on the list for an organ transplant. In 2018, nearly 7,000 transplants were made possible by living donors.
At UCHealth, they report having consistent growth with living liver and kidney donors in the last five years.
For more info on how to be a living donor go to: https://www.uchealth.org/services/transplant-services/living-donation/