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Those hoping for an organ continue waiting amid coronavirus pandemic

"I want to get a new heart and move on with my life," Kylie Rivera said.

ARIZONA, USA — The coronavirus is changing lives, requiring all of us to social distance. It also means a halt to elective surgery.

But what happens to those who are in need of a life-saving organ transplant?

According to those at Donate LIFE, nothing has truly changed with the donation process. Organ donation is deemed an essential surgery. 

However, the organs are being checked for COVID-19 before donation. 

It is another concern for those on the waiting list to be aware of, but it's not life-changing. 

Kylie Rivera's life has been one of social distancing for pretty much the last 6 years as she waits for a new heart. 

"It was the first night, she had just started college," Natalie Rivera, Kylie's mom, said. "Her first night of EMT academy and she came home shaking and white."

Kylie would be taken to the hospital where the family would learn she was going into heart failure. 

"It came out of nowhere where a virus attacked my heart." Kylie Rivera said. 

The virus is unknown. Natalie had her own fight with a virus attacking her heart two years before her daughter would go through a similar fight. 

Kylie faced more issues. The virus leaving her heart pumping at 15 percent.

"It's frustrating at times because I want to get a new heart and move on with my life," Kylie said.

Kylie maintained a smile throughout her interview with 12 News. She says her faith has helped get her through the multitude of tests and sitting on a waiting list for years. 

Last month an outbreak of COVID-19 has changed how many around Arizona, and the country, have been living. 

However, Kylie and her mom said not much has changed for them. 

They already stay in the house, avoid crowds and sick family members. Kylie's health is fragile. 

Doctors are not currently looking for a heart for Kylie, but if her turn happened to come up, the surgery would not be stopped.

Kylie said she hopes to get a new heart to help move on with her life; to see things return to normal. 

"Going to concerts handing out with a lot of people, being with friends," Kylie said.

For those who are looking to register as a donor, there are no age limits or health requirements to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor on DonateLifeAZ.org.


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