Imagine living for only eight hours at a time. This is the reality for Jim Lynskey, a nineteen-year-old with viral meningitis. In desperate need of a heart transplant due to his weakening heart, Jim relies on a Left Ventricle Assisted Device, or LVAD machine, to pump his heart and prevent himself from going into cardiac arrest. This pump which serves as his lifeline only lasts for eight hours at a time. Thus, he lives every day just like the other 65,000 patients in the UK who are awaiting an organ transplant.
Ever since he was a newborn, Jim was diagnosed with meningitis along with his twin sister. Unfortunately, he was unable to recover from the illness like his sister, and the condition deteriorated his enlarged heart. At the young age of eight, he suffered several cardiac arrests which led to an insertion of an ICD, a device that controls irregular heart rhythms. Jim was able to live a stable life with his condition until he was seventeen. At this age, his heart unexpectedly stopped again, just as he was finally excelling in school socially and academically. By the time he turned nineteen, Jim’s heart and major organs were beginning to fail significantly because he had contracted pneumonia. As a result, his doctors implanted the LVAD machine. Knowing that his entire life was about to shift due to the diagnosis, he decided to dedicate his time to helping other individuals in need. Jim stated that he used his time to research organ donation. He was shocked when he found out that “three people die each day due to the lack of available organs, and there is an estimated three-year wait for patients in my position. It was during my research that I first came across the fact that one donor can save nine lives.” This research and information served as the catalyst for the campaign.
Although Lynskey faced his own medical battles, he still chose to dedicate his life to aid other patients awaiting organ transplants, founding an organ donation campaign - Save9Lives. This campaign is dedicated to advocating the importance of organ donation and even allows individuals to register as organ donors.
Lynskey’s legacy, dedicated to his campaign, continues to advocate the importance and impact of organ donation. Save9Lives is currently recognized nationally, with its partnerships expanding to include the NHS Blood and Transplant organization. Although Jim Lynskey is not physically able to see his impact on the world, his contribution will always be remembered.
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