East TN mom shares the highs and lows of emotions in organ donation journey

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – On Monday funeral services were held for 15-year old Zach Munday whose life ended suddenly last week. Family telling us the Gibbs High School football player saved four lives through organ donation.

     MORE ONLINE | Knox County Sheriff’s Office investigating death of 15-year old Gibbs student

Hearing this news, Alex Newport shared her family’s journey with organ transplants. Newport saying it’s bought her son more time, but she knows it comes at a life-changing cost.

“To hear those words, ‘Your son needs a liver,’ is devastating,” said Newport.

Her 27-year old son, John, has fatty liver disease and is at Vanderbilt Hospital. Newport says on Friday morning they got a call from John saying he’d received that life-saving gift, but she says the weekend was full of highs and lows.

“Life is precious. Life is short. Lord saw fit to give him more time through this precious person. They are our hero, his family is our angels,” she added.

At UT Medical Center, they focus on kidney transplant. Brent Hannah, Director of Transplant Services, says they have 300 people on the waiting list waiting on that life-saving organ. 

“Really one organ donor can save seven to eight lives but can really improve the lives of many when you start talking about eye and tissue donation as well,” says Hannah.

Hannah also saying whether you choose to be a living donor or donate when you pass away, it’s important to share your wishes of organ donation with your loved ones.

“The power there is someone on their worst day of their life, they’re consenting and giving permission for their loved one to be an organ donor,” added Hannah.

For the Newport family, they don’t know who John’s donor is, but they say they’re touched that Zach Munday saved four lives.

“To know that Zach, being so young, knew what that meant and that he could help someone beyond himself and his life expectancy is just, I can’t explain it,” said Newport.

The United Network for Organ Sharing saying as of June 2, 2019 there are 113,478 people nationwide on a transplant waiting list.

Donate Life Tennessee says you can choose to donate all your organs or specify which organs and tissues you’d like to donate.

If you’re interested in registering to become an organ donor, you can do that online here or when you’re renewing your driver’s license.

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