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|Collins: 'Please don't waste your organs'|
Every week Katie Collins sits in the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and sees people who desperately need help to live.
She wants nothing more than to help them, but she's as sick as them.
Collins, the daughter of former NLU coach Pat Collins, is waiting for a liver transplant to cure her of Budd-Chiari syndrome.
It's a rare illness that is caused by blood clots, which impede blood flow from the liver.
Collins has received treatment at the Mayo Clinic for the past four months. She currently is at the top of the list for a liver transplant, but she is still waiting.
Many others with various illnesses have traveled from around the world to the Mayo Clinic, and like Collins, they wait.
"That's what is so hard," Collins said. "I sit and watch these people and you know you can't help them. I would if I could."
"It's very difficult to be here sometimes watching people wait and wait," Collins continued. "That's what's so hard for me. There's so many people in need of a transplant."
That's why Collins and her family have been raising awareness about the need for more organ donors.
Her nephew, Matt Collins, plays baseball for the ULM Warhawks. He often tells people about his aunt and others like her, Collins said.
College students, as well as high school students and their parents, are the target age group for organ donation, Collins said.
Yet, so many in the 18-40 age group do not choose to become organ donors, she said.
"I've always worked in the health care field and I've always been an organ donor," Collins explained. "My family is now organ donors because all of this has hit home with them. We hope to encourage many others to become organ donors.
"Please don't waste your organs. You can save up to 70 lives with all the organs they can take from you. I think that would be so much more rewarding than just burying your loved one."
Once Collins receives a liver transplant, she will remain in Minnesota for about nine weeks to make sure her body does not reject the new one.
Then, she will travel back to Monroe to stay with her parents.
When she returns to Ouachita Parish, she has plans to speak at local churches, schools, organizations and "anyone who will listen" about the importance of being an organ donor.
For more information about becoming an organ donor, contact the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency at 1-800-521-4483, or visit the organization's web site at www.lopa.org.