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Tucson woman to share organ donation story

Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-15 21:35:27-04
With a new heart, Elise Campbell says she also gained a new perspective. 
 
"Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for the gift that I've been given," she said. 
 
Campbell received her heart transplant in 2014 after she says a congenital heart defect caused her heart to fail. Almost two years since that life-saving surgery, she's now heading to Phoenix to talk with state legislators about organ donation during Donate Life Day at the Arizona State Capitol. 
 
Campbell learned at age 14 that she had a heart defect, but it wasn't until almost 20 years later that she says her heart started to give up. 
 
"I was just constantly tired, I didn't have a lot of energy," he said. "I wasn't going to live much longer and I wasn't going to be able to continue with the heart that I'd been given."
 
She only spent about three months on the transplant list but she says those three months were a trying time. 
 
"I knew the impact that it was going to make on my family members," she said. "That was I think my biggest concern through all this was if something were to happen to me, what would happen to my family?" 
 
After receiving the transplant, she now says she can do things she never could in the past. 
 
"I actually rode a bike for the first time in 20 years," she said. "I have been hiking, I do yoga. I've been trying to run. It's still a learning process you know when you've never really run before, it takes awhile to build up your endurance."
 
And all of that she says she owes to her donor, a complete stranger who she calls her "life saving hero." 
 
"They made a huge difference," she said. "They chose to say yes to the gift of life and so now I'm trying to encourage others to do the same thing." 
 
More than 123,000 people are currently waiting for organ donations in the United States. Almost 2,500 of those people are living in Arizona. 
 
If you're interested in learning more about organ donation, or to register to become a donor, click here.