Going for the Gold to Share Organ Donation

Reported by: Melanie Kendall
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Updated: 4/24 11:23 pm

Nearly 115,000 individuals are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant across the US.  More than 800 of them are in Kentucky.

Nationwide, a new name is added to the list every ten minutes but on average, 18 people die a day because the organ didn’t come in time.

But nearly 40,000 people were given the gift of life in 2011.

Riley Speck was given a new heart when he was just 18 months old.  That was eight years ago, now he acts like a typical third-grader.

Thursday was a fundraiser at Chick-fil-A to help send him to Houston, TX this summer to compete in the U.S. Transplant Games.

Riley showed up late because he was at his best friend’s birthday party, something his mom says he’s able to do because of a little girl named Sierra.

“He has a picture of her and he'll pick it up sometimes and give it a kiss and say that's because she saved my life,” said Brandi Speck, Riley’s mom.

Riley plans to compete in the track and field, swimming and bowling events at the Transplant Games.

This will be the third games Riley has completed in, a symbol of the success of organ transplantation.

“You just never know when organ donation can affect you or a loved one so I urge people to really think about it today and make the decision and not wait,” said Brandi Speck, Riley’s mom.

“There are people out there looking, that are constantly looking and I think that if they just answer the call they will see that they can really make a difference in someone’s life,” said Karen Michul, who donated her kidney two years ago and will also be competing in the games.

The Kentucky Team will be having another fundraiser at The Lexington Legends on Saturday, May 31st starting at 7:00.

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