Angels In Our Midst

Angels In Our Midst

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Angels in our Midst (Kim McMahon)

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 01:43 PM CDT
Each year in this country, more than five thousand people die while awaiting an organ transplant. That number is more than a sad statistic for one Pensacola woman, it is personal and it set her the mission of an Angel in our Midst.
Kim McMahon,  with Crusades for Organ Donors tells her story, "We arrived at Shands Hospital with him on life support in a coma and saying, 'You have 24 hours to get this liver and if you don't, he's going to die.'"

It was a parent's nightmare.  16 year old William McMahon, an international baccalaureate student, an avid surfer, played guitar in a little band...out of nowhere, suddenly in liver failure.

"We were blessed. Someone is their very worst time, chose to give life," said Kim.

Somewhere, another grieving mother's child had given the gift of life and William got his liver transplant just in time.  But, five months later, the new liver failed and Kim would be praying that he would get another.

"Sadly, we didn't and, uh, I watched him die right in front of me," said Kim.

Seven years ago, that heartbreak set this mother on a crusade to register organ donors. 

"Decided to make a shirt and set up at the Christian Surfers' or anyplace that would let me go. And, just took a computer, made me some cards and started sharing William's story. Kim organized an annual paddle out in William's memory and told his story to a captive audience. She became highly requested on high school campuses and at teen conferences. The young people seemed to 'get it,'" she explained.

Kevin Isserman became a registered organ donor. "I definitely thought about, what if it were me?  And thinking like that, I know I would want help so, therefore, I feel like I would like to help others," he said.

Preeyal Gupta also registered as an organ donor. "I wasn't so much thinking about myself, I was more thinking about losing my family," said Gupta.

This mother has also taken her campaign before state and federal lawmakers and she's seen a difference in attitude and results. The numbers of people registering to become organ donors is going up and that means more lives are being saved.

Kevin said, "Being an organ donor is as easy as saying, 'Yes.'"

"Whether you decide, yes or no, do it with an education to know that 19 people are going to die today and that one person can save eight lives," said Kim. "I was the one that was there to do and that no one else would have to have a William's story."

"She's not turning her pain in on herself. She's using her pain to help the world; to make a difference," said Gupta.

Angels in our Midst is brought to you by Sacred Heart Children's Hospital.Angels in our Midst (Kim McMahon)

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