America’s Organ Crisis

After a reader responded to a Daily Sun story and saved the life of a stranger with a kidney donation, we knew we had to find out more.

Senior Reporter Brittany Van Heyningen discovered an organ shortage reaching crisis proportions, especially for the nation’s senior population.

She and photojournalist Cal Gaines chronicle the issue as the industry considers its first policy changes in decades. – Story

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This was quite a journey. From the transplant recovery unit at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, The Houston Texas Transplant Games of America, to Mayo Clinic Jacksonville and University of Florida Health in Gainesville.

Throughout this journey the people that we met made an impact on our lives that will never be forgotten. We had the great opportunity to walk alongside transplant recipients and donors while documenting their triumphant stories and seeing the smiles as well as the tears. We connected with a local family where the father is still waiting for the phone call that his liver transplant is ready, sat down with medical professionals to gain their insights on the issues facing organ donation, documented one mans journey in Houston as he competed in the Transplant Games of America and captured the story of a dad who lost his son in an accident and his organs saved the lives of 5 people.

The time, the dedication and the heart that went into this project was at times difficult and stressful, but we gained an exuberant amount of knowledge and learned a little bit about ourselves along the way.

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