Lynn Davis was just nine years old when her journey in needing a life saving organ began. Even as a young child, Davis knew something was wrong when she had extreme thirst, weight loss, and a loss of appetite. When her blood sugar became so high that she went into a coma, her doctors diagnosed her with type 1 diabetes.
Like 1.6 million other Americans diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Davis had to adjust to her new life, checking her blood sugar and glucose levels several times a day, well into her young adult life.
“My symptoms were painful. I wasn’t able to sleep well due to pain in my pancreas. I was missing days during graduate school because of the pain and illness,” said Davis.
In 2014 at a doctor’s appointment, lab testing revealed that she needed a kidney and pancreas transplant, due to the deterioration of her organs from the diabetes. The doctor said she would need a transplant within 18 months, and the countdown began.
In August of 2015, Davis was officially added to the waiting list to receive a donor kidney and pancreas. In September of that year, she received a call telling her that there were donor organs ready, and she was told to go to the hospital.
After preparing for her procedure and waiting several agonizing hours, Davis received the news that the organs were no longer viable to be transplanted due to being outside the donor for too long.
“I was devastated. I was disappointed but I was thankful. I was thankful for them being honest with me. He told me to keep doing what I was doing and we kept waiting,” Davis said.
On January 21, 2016, Davis got another call. This time, she said, it felt different. At the John C. McDonald Regional Transplant Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, Davis received her life-saving transplant.
“On January 22, I received my second chance at life. Sometimes I feel like I’m living a dream,” Davis said. “26 years is a long time to wait.”
Davis no longer has diabetes and was able to fully recover from her transplants within two years. She was also able to finish her masters degree and pursue a doctorate degree in psychology.
“I live like a normal person now,” Davis said. “When I wake up in the morning and my feet hit the floor, nothing hurts. It’s such a great feeling. I always wanted and prayed to be normal.”
Today, there are currently over 106,000 Americans waiting and 300 of them are in Arkansas. Every ten minutes, another person is added. Every day, 17 people die waiting for an organ that isn’t available, according to ARORA, Arkansas’ largest organ and tissue recovery agency. ARORA serves 64 counties throughout the state. Sixty-four percent of eligible Arkansans are registered as organ, tissue and eye donors, but there is still a gap between the need and donation.
Davis felt motivated to give back to the world due to her restored life. She now volunteers with ARORA and other nonprofit organizations.
“It’s a personal decision as to whether or not you want to be an organ donor. By registering, you’re helping someone to live a longer life and blessing them with the opportunity to have a second chance at life like I did,” Davis said. “Being an organ donor is to provide someone with the gift of life.”
The ARORA team works to educate and inspire more Arkansans to register to become
“When someone registers to become an organ, tissue and eye donor, they have
the potential to save up to eight lives through organ donation and restore the lives of
hundreds through tissue donation,” said Audrey Coleman, director of communications
To learn more about ARORA or to register to become an organ, tissue and eye donor,