'It just impacts people': Caledonia man pushes for organ donation after 2nd heart transplant

April is National Organ Donation Month
Posted at 9:35 AM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-05 09:35:00-04

CALEDONIA, Mich. — Reminders of Scott Campbell’s past and what he still carries fill his Caledonia home. 

“It just impacts people on levels that you can’t understand,” said Campbell. 

The items, a heart-shaped pillow, and a box, and the selflessness of strangers are the reasons why Campbell finds himself still alive. 

“If it weren’t for people that sign the registry or the families deciding to give up their family member’s organs, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Campbell. “It’s as simple and as easy as that.”

In 2015, Campbell received the first of two hearts after a rare congenital heart defect caused his original heart to give out.

“I couldn’t walk across the room, I couldn’t breathe very well,” said Campbell.

He waited on the organ donation lists for just over five months.

“Some days are good, some days are bad, but it makes it, ‘Is today the day?’ said Campbell. “You’re always looking for, ‘Is this the day I’m going to get my organ, or in my case my heart.’ And that’s a hard way to live.”

After his surgery that December, Campbell eventually began to feel like himself again.

In the years after, he spent time with his family and friends and traveled to schools in West Michigan to speak about the impact of organ donation.

In 2021 though, that all changed.

“I had some blockages in the bottom of my heart in all the small arteries and vessels, which was a form of rejection,” said Campbell.

Campbell needed another heart transplant, so he started the process over again.

Last June, on his 59th birthday, his newest heart arrived.

“It’s getting there slowly, but surely,” said Campbell. “I would say after six months the first time, I was feeling pretty good. I’m nine, almost 10 months out now, still struggling.”

Campbell says his recovery has been more gradual this time around, but nonetheless, he remains grateful for the tools and selflessness of the two people who gave love to a stranger.

“You just have to have the patience and pray that it’s going to happen because the alternative is not good in most cases,” said Campbell.

April marks National Donate Life Month.

According to Gift of Life Michigan, the state reported a 14 percent increase in donors in 2021. Doctors transplanted 1,089 organs from 429 people. More than 250,000 names were added to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

Across the state, roughly 2,500 people wait for a life-saving organ each year. There are more than 100,000 people nationwide.

To learn more about organ donation or to sign up, click here. --- pls link this website

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