Volunteering And Helping Others Who Are Undergoing Obstacles and Struggles In Life
Please meet our friend, LI TRIO volunteer Taylor Clarke. Taylor is grateful for the Gift Of Life, truly believes in paying it forward and is a dedicated Organ Donation Awareness Ambassador.
My story began in the fall of 2015. I was 19 years old living away from home and beginning my second year of college. I was thriving at school and enjoying my new found freedom. In the blink of an eye, my entire life changed.
I began to feel tired all the time. I was losing weight rapidly, barely eating and struggling to find the energy to just get out of bed in the morning. I was becoming less and less like myself with each passing day. My parents made the decision to withdraw me from college and move me back home where I would undergo numerous medical tests in an attempt to find out what was possibly wrong.
Doctors first thought it was a vitamin deficiency, then thought maybe I had a muscle disease. I went through test after test but everything was inconclusive. My health was deteriorating by the second and all that my family and I wanted was an answer.
In early December of that year, I was rushed to the local hospital, South Nassau Communities Hospital. My mother thought I was having a stroke. From that hospital, I was transferred to North Shore University Hospital where it was determined that my heart was failing, rapidly. I was placed on ECMO and it was determined that I would need a heart transplant. I was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where I was put on the regional transplant waiting list.
I was given an LVAD to keep my failing heart pumping and to ultimately keep me alive. I remained in the hospital for five months and during those five months I had to learn to walk again and regain strength in my muscles.
On April 19, 2016 I received news that a perfect and healthy heart was available and ready for me. I was wheeled into surgery and my healthy heart was transplanted on April 20. I have been my healthiest and best self ever since.
I was able to go home just 12 days after my surgery and resume my normal life. Since then, I have re-enrolled in college, this time at a different school much closer to home. I attend Hofstra University where I am pursuing a degree in journalism.
I actively write about my experiences and my life post-transplant on my personal blog, with hopes that by sharing my story I can help others who are undergoing obstacles and struggles in life.
I wake up every day with my donor on my mind. Since my transplant, I have made it my mission to pay it forward in any way possible. Thank you will never be enough to describe the gratitude I feel for the complete stranger who saved my life and who gave me a chance to live each coming day to the fullest. I hope that by volunteering and sharing my story, I can inspire others to enroll to be an organ donor and to give the best gift of all- the gift of life.