Thursday, December 17, 2009

This Is What It's All About

Meet Lena Moultrie. She's an amazing young woman and one whose story must be told.

Lena died last year. She was eleven years old. She went to school, she had friends, she loved her family. She loved to dance, she hoped someday to marry Michael Jackson, she loved the movie "Seven Pounds" with Will Smith. Her life was not stopped by a three year old diagnosis of a cyst on her brain.

When a brain aneurysm left her on life support, alive only because her body was too strong to die, her mother remembered that Will Smith movie.

In it, Smith's character tries to atone for a horrible accident by sacrificing himself to save seven lives. He gives up his possessions, his identity, his future and his organs to give others a chance to live.

Hazelee Moultrie says that resonated with Lena. She thought it was wonderful that he'd sacrificed himself for others.

"She was a wonderful little girl," Hazelee told me. "She was always thinking of others, always reaching out to try to make someone feel better."

So Hazelee knew what Lena would want: she donated her organs to save others.

Lena saved four lives - and her heart was given to another eleven year old girl who is now strong and healthy.

"It's helped me so much," her mother says. "It's helped all of us, particularly knowing there's another girl Lena's age who's having a healthy life because Lena's heart never stopped beating."

Hazelee will be on the Donate Life float at the Tournament of Roses parade on New Year's Day. She says she knows that Lena will be with her, helping her get through it.

A hundred and five thousand people are on the organ transplant waiting list nationwide. Every day, nineteen people on that list will run out of time. The Center for Donation and Transplant says the need for donors is increasing though the number of donors has stayed flat.

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