In December 2014, Renita Hylton, one of Emory Healthcare’s own, had to quickly familiarize herself with the subject of organ donation. She received the devastating news that her 17-year-old son, D’Sean Bray, was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy that would require a lifesaving heart transplant. “I knew something was wrong. He was always very active, and then he began sleeping a lot. When he was admitted, his heart was only functioning at seven percent,” she recalls. D’Sean needed immediate open-heart surgery to save his life until a new heart would become available. He was quickly placed on the pediatric transplant list.
D’Sean was receiving care from the pediatric cardiology team at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston when the family received news that a heart was available. “I was in disbelief,” says Renita. “I was happy, but at the same time sad knowing how we were getting the heart.”
The donor was 14-year-old who lost his life in a traffic accident. The donor’s family made the selfless decision to have their son’s heart donated.
“We met the donor’s family a few months after the surgery, and we still keep in contact,” says Renita. “The family joined us for the 2016 Atlanta Heart Walk.”
“I saw an instant improvement in D’Sean immediately,” says his mom. “The swelling in his face, feet, and hands went down, and he had color back in his face.”
Where Is He Now?
D’Sean is now attending the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and speaks about the importance of organ donation at community outreach events for Egleston, the LifeLink Foundation, and his college. “I am so thankful he’s recovering and can be just a normal kid. Going through this has opened our eyes to the importance of promoting organ donation,” says his mom.
Transplantation is one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of medicine, but the need for organ donation is greater than ever before. More than 123,000 men, women, and children are on the national transplant list, with another person added every 10 minutes.
Each April, we celebrate National Donate Life Month to raise awareness about organ donation and honor the donors who have given the gift of life. Research shows that 95 percent of Americans are for being a donor, yet only 48 percent are registered. Those awaiting a lifesaving transplant need organs, tissue and bone marrow. These can all be transplanted – giving recipients (and their families) a second chance at life.
Emory Transplant Center is proud to play a part in transplantation – giving hope to thousands of people with organ failure and provides them and their families with active and renewed lives.
How You Can Help
Want to learn more about organ donation? Visit Donate Life Georgia to get the facts about organ donation, register to become a donor and update your donate profile.
Learn more about Emory’s Transplant Center, offering Georgia’s most comprehensive organ transplant program.