Valley Organ Recipient Heads to Rose Bowl to Share Story
One organ donor can save up to nine lives - and one young woman in the Shenandoah Valley is spreading that message after she herself overcame a life-threatening disease thanks to a double lung transplant.
After Madison Shinaberry overcame a severe condition as a child, she got involved with LifeNet - a group that educates and advocates for organ donation. Now, her winter break will involve going to the Rose Bowl Parade and stepping onto a much bigger stage.
"I'm so excited to be on the float. I've always wanted to go to the Rose Bowl. I've always wanted to see the parade,” said Shinaberry.
Shinaberry has come a long way. The active young woman faced a big scare when she was only 11 years old.
"I've performed and trained my whole life. With dancing, I was becoming very fatigued. I couldn't dance for very long without becoming just really exhausted. So, I knew there was something wrong,” said Shinaberry.
Doctors diagnosed her with pulmonary hypertension.
"That's a disease that affects the heart and the lungs. It's high blood pressure in the lungs,” said Shinaberry.
It's deadly if untreated, and after fighting it for a couple of years, she began waiting for a double lung transplant.
"I was very fortunate. I received my transplant within two months,” said Shinaberry. "And I was back in school and dancing in three months."
Now, she's dedicated to sharing her story. As a spokesperson for Lifenet, she's headed to the Rose Bowl parade where the organization sponsors a float for donors and recipients to meet.
"I think it's going to be a really great experience,” said Shinaberry.
Thanks to her collaboration with Virginia Delegate Rob Bell, the Virginia Board of Education just approved their proposal to teach students across Virginia about organ donation in high school classes.
"The gift of an organ is the greatest that someone can give. It's definitely a difficult decision for a family to make when they've lost a loved one, but certainly you can save so many lives and improve so many more,” said Shinaberry.
Shinaberry says she has a full schedule ahead of her. She'll leave for California after Christmas and ring in the New Year with her mom from California.
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