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Donate Life Month: Alison's Story

When my phone rang at 10:22 pm on the night of June 7, 2023 and I saw “UVA Transplant” on the caller ID - I knew. I knew that this was it. This was “the” phone call that we had awaited for the past 105 days.

“We’ve got a heart for Alison!” I could hear the smile on her cardiologist’s face. 

It was an unreal moment. 

Alison was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and we were told early on that it was unlikely that the heart she was born with would be her forever heart. Such a strange thing to be told. 

Her timeline for needing a heart transplant escalated when she deteriorated into heart failure at 2 months old. Her heart was too weak to support the act of breathing on her own. 

She received a tracheostomy for the ventilator support she needed during the open-ended wait on the transplant list. 

After hanging up from that phone call that night, I immediately notified family and friends of the news. 

And then I cried. 

I cried because of the hope I felt that our baby girl was finally going to get a chance at a life outside of the walls of the hospital.


I cried because I was relieved that the waiting was over. 

And I cried because I was heartbroken that somewhere, at that same moment, there was another mom sitting in another hospital crying for painfully different reasons. 

Photo collage reading "Donate Life Month" and showing three different photos of a young girl who received a heart transplant

Alison received her new heart the following day, and it saved her life. She is now 15 months old and thriving. She is learning to live a full life as a medically complex little girl - laughing, playing, exploring the world, bringing joy to others. 

She has a bright future that she would not have without organ donation. A devastated family chose to give this gift of life out of their tragedy, and we are deeply grateful for that choice.

Please consider organ donation. Have those tough conversations, for yourself and for your loved ones should you ever be faced with that choice.  

-Kate, Alison's mom & former LilyPads Housing guest

Donate life.


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