Gracie Parish, a high school senior in Kentucky, has a plan to save lives. WAVE 3 News interviewed Gracie and her sister Anna about “Anna’s Bill,” which Gracie hopes will change the way first her state and then the nation’s organ donation program works. She noted that European countries that had switched to an opt-out organ donation system saw a 30 to 40 percent population growth in organ donation after switching. An opt-out system would mean that rather than signing up to be organ donor, people would have to remove their names from the organ donation list.
“Gallup took a poll in 2005 of Americans who agreed, or strongly agreed, with organ donation,” Gracie Parish said in her interview with WAVE 3 News. “Ninety-five percent said that they did. I was thinking if 95 percent of people agree with organ donation, and only 40 percent are donors, there’s obviously a huge gap and something needs to change.”
In the sisters’ Youtube video, which Gracie urges viewers to share to help raise awareness and in the hopes to get the video to the White House, she tells a little of their family’s story. Her sister Anna, diagnosed with liver disease at 5 weeks old, received a life-saving transplant when she was 11.
“Our family had no idea that this was gonna strike our lives and we were in complete shock when it happened. We have to admit we were not organ donors before organ donation directly affected our lives, but we feel that’s the way most people are. For 11 years we were waiting for the day that we’d get the call and sometimes it felt like it was never gonna come.”
Gracie Parish shared the staggering statistics that “Every day 22 people die waiting for an organ and 8,000 die every year.” These two young girls, determined to make a difference, bravely face grim life and death facts and ask others to make themselves aware as well.
“Someone is added to the wait list every 10 minutes,” Gracie said.
The number of people needing organ transplants is only likely to increase in coming years. Recent studies warn that one of our country’s most prescribed drugs, proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, such as Prevacid, Nexium and Prilosec, used to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), has been linked to an increased risk of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. In 2013, PPIs were prescribed to an estimated 15 million Americans and acquired over the counter by countless more.
Huffington Post reports that nearly half a million Americans have kidney failure, and approximately 100,000 Americans are on the kidney transplant waitlist, with the numbers growing. The average wait time of five years is too long for most, who will die before receiving the organs they need, HuffPo reports.