LiveOnNY hosts annual Organ Donor Enrollment Day at Sunset Park hospital

Saving lives one day at a time through organ donations, NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, 150 55th Street, played host to its annual Organ Donor Enrollment Day on Wednesday, October 4, held to raise awareness to the importance of organ donations and how many lives they save.

The event, organized by LiveOnNY, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant in the New York metropolitan area, also gives attendees a chance to register as a donor.

Among the speakers was 29-year-old Prasha Tuladhar, a double-lung transplant recipient.

“I let people know that they should be organ donors,” she told this paper. “Some don’t do it because people are mostly unaware of the fact there are so many people in New York State dying every day waiting for a donation.”

She also discussed the misconceptions surrounding organ donation. Often, she said, people, “are really scared. They don’t go through it firsthand so they don’t have knowledge how it works.”

Prior to her transplant, Tuladhar was diagnosed with several diseases, including scleroderma. She had a high risk pregnancy and gave birth to a daughter at the age of 25.

Then, doctors discovered after a CAT scan that Tuladhar had severe pulmonary fibrosis, a degenerative lung disease.

Photo courtesy of Prasha Tuladhar
Photo courtesy of Prasha Tuladhar

“I was told [just three months after I gave birth that] I might have to go for a double lung transplant,” she stated. “I was evaluated at Columbia Presbyterian and in December, 2014, I got listed as a potential recipient for a double lung transplant. After that, it was just a waiting game. I didn’t get calls until November, 2015.”

As her health worsened over time, she was hooked up to several machines to get external oxygen. She also developed gangrene on her toe, which was eventually amputated and an eye stroke. On her birthday, both of her lungs failed and she was put on an extra machine.

“After I got to the ICU, at the end of December, I started getting calls for a match, but in two weeks you get one call because it is difficult to find a match,” she said. “Finally I found a perfect match. The doctors were really scared I wouldn’t make it because of the severity of my sickness. I received my lung transplant on February 9, 2016 and I woke up on the 14th.”

The recovery was long and painful as she could only exercise 15 minutes at a time.  However, her determination got her through it.

“It was tough for me as I had to learn to breathe,” she said. “With all the therapy, they taught me how to walk. I couldn’t see well so I slowly regained my eyesight. I had to relearn things like a child.”

Now that she is better, she is excited to raise awareness.

“Sometimes when you hear from someone whose life has changed,” said Tuladhar, “people really give a second thought about being an organ donor because they think about giving the gift of life and say, if it changed her life it may change someone else’s.”

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