Katie's Pay it Forward Party-Fundraiser for Organ and Tissue Donations

A local woman is hosting a Pay it Forward Party this Sunday at the American Legion in Mohawk to raise money for organ and tissue donations.

Katie O'Donnell was only 18 years old when she was told she needed an emergency liver transplant. 

"I kind of looked like I had packed on the freshman 15 in a month and a half," O'Donnell said.

It was Katie's first year away from home. Things were going well until she started to feel sick, and the doctors couldn't tell her what was wrong. But after a few days of testing, Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester diagnosed Katie with a rare genetic disease.

"Wilson's Disease, which is when your liver can't metabolize the copper that comes into your system," O'Donnell  said.

Following her visit, Katie's condition worsened. Before she knew it, she was on the top of the transplant list. 

"And (I) was told that if I didn't have my transplant the day I did that I would only have about 25, i'm sorry 24, hours left before I would have been untransplantable. And, that would have been it," O'Donnell  said.

As Katie's hospital bills came out to over half a million dollars, her friends and family threw a benefit for her. Now, ten years later, she's hoping to raise $10,000 to donate to the organizations that saved her life.

"I of course hope that we reach and surpass our goal. But more than anything, I hope that we get the word out about organ and tissue donation," O'Donnell said.

Something Katie said gave her opportunities she never would have had otherwise. 

"The fact that my donors family was saying goodbye to their loved one but decided to help others," O'Donnell said.

In these situations, the family is the one who decides if their loved one's organs should be donated--so planning ahead is essential.

"Not only is it important to have that little heart on your I.D., on your drivers license, but it's even more important to have the discussion with your family," O'Donnell said.

For those interested in attending this fundraiser, admission is $15 per person, $25 for a couple, and children under ten years old are free. 





**Correction-The video states the American Legion is in Rochester, but it is located in Mohawk, NY. 

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