Right now in Wyoming, there are close to 200 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. About 60 percent of Wyomingites are registered organ, eye, and tissue donors. Nationally, 20 people die waiting for an organ every day. On the other hand, over 80 successful transplant surgeries are performed every day.
Some would say those who get organ transplants are lucky, but family members of one Wyoming girl say they're blessed to see her happy and healthy.
You would never know that Caydence—or Cayde, as her family calls her—would be the energetic and enthusiastic girl she is today by looking at pictures from before her surgery. Just a few years ago, Cayde was on a waiting list for a double lung transplant.
“Cayde was born with a heart defect,” explained Patricia Shuttle, Cayde’s grandmother. “Also lung hypertension, which is high blood pressure of the lungs—that’s the easiest way to explain it. She also had pulmonary vein stenosis, which means that her heart defect kind of closed off her lungs, which is what her need for having a double lung transplant was. So Cayde was listed for almost four years.”
Cayde was two years old when her and her family went to Houston to begin the process of waiting for new lungs. In 2013, at age six, doctors told her some good news: they had new lungs for her. But she says she'll never forget the long years of waiting.
“Well when I was four years old, sometimes I had to be on oxygen when I was asleep,” Cayde said. “Almost every day if I couldn't breathe, they had to put oxygen on me and all that kind of stuff. So they had to put me on oxygen. My mom didn't like that, but she was fine with it. Almost every day I had to be on it.”
Shuttle explained the process of hoping and holding on during those years. “As a family, you have to hold on to a lot of faith and hope, and just be as positive as you can, because there are children and adults that may not make it to transplant.”
Cayde said, “I was happy that I did make it, because I wanted to see my family because I missed them so much.”
And today, Cayde gets to be with her family, happy and healthy, thanks to her donor.
“Cayde's donor is my hero, but their family has my heart forever,” Shuttle said.
Cayde came to Casper to be in the parade Tuesday morning.
Follow the link in the sidebar if you'd like to become a registered donor or want more information.