WASHINGTON — This story of survival and generosity is helping us feel uplifted. A D.C. native underwent a rare medical procedure and survived.
Apu Patel, 48, is living proof that organ donors save lives. He was the 20th triple transplant recipient in the U.S.
When Patel began feeling fatigued, he thought nothing of it until it worsened and other symptoms emerged. After undergoing several tests, he found out he needed a new heart, liver and kidney in order to survive. Patel had an autoimmune disorder that was attacking his major internal organs with scarring, disease and cancer. He received the transplant in June of 2019 and now can continue his life as a dedicated husband and father.
He spent a total of 110 days in a Chicago hospital before being revitalized by an anonymous donor's generosity.
"I was the happiest person after that surgery," Patel said. "It worked! I got the gift of life."
Now he has a new mission, working with Infinite Legacy to educate people on the importance of donor registration.
April is National Donate Life Month, a time to raise awareness about donation, encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors, and honor those that have saved lives through the gift of donation. There are about 4,200 people in the Maryland and Metro D.C. area on the transplant waiting list. In addition, 17 people die every day waiting for a transplant and a new name is added to the transplant waiting list every nine minutes.