CHERRY HILL, N.J. - At just 4 years old, Francesco Cammarata of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, knows that he is blessed to be thriving one year after he received a liver transplant from his aunt Mimma-Marie.He was born with a rare liver disease known as biliary atresia. Francesco is fresh off of his trip to Disney World sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“Organ donation saved my life," he said.
His mother is happy saying that he tells her all the things that he is able to do, like run. He has energy and he tells her that his belly doesn’t hurt him anymore.
FOX 29’s Jennifer Joyce talked to Richard Hasz, the vice president of Clinical Services at the Gift of Life Donor Program, who wanted to remind people that the month of April is Donate Life Month. The need is greater than ever and these risky surgeries become even riskier with the presence of the COVID-19.
“It’s a very scary time. There are still today, over 5,000 patients in this area that are awaiting transplant," Hasz explained.
He added that some transplants are on hold right now as doctors are tackling the pandemic, though each case they get has been assessed individually.
“We’re testing now every organ donor for COVID-19, asking for additional screening questions of families of the donor, looking for risk factors associated with COVID-19. For patients who are in dire need, transplant teams are still operational and still available," Hasz said.
For more information on the program, please visit the website, here.
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