Allison’s Story: I Might not Have Survived if I Had to Wait Much Longer

August 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Allison Trimble’s is alive thanks to a heart donor and a family’s selfless decision.

For most teens, sophomore year in high school revolves around football games, talking on the phone and cramming for tests. Allison Trimble’s sophomore year took a different direction.

After experiencing exhaustion while trying out for the swim team, Allison went to the doctor for an asthma test. A routine chest x-ray showed that her heart had swollen to four times its normal size. She was battling a genetic heart illness called familial cardiomyopathy.

After 18 days in intensive care at Children’s Hospital, Allison was listed on the heart transplant waiting list and sent home to wait for a donor. On March 5th, while coming to grips with a tragic loss, a Northwest family consented to donate the organs of their loved one.

Puget Sound Blood Center’s HLA/Immunogenetics Laboratory technicians began analyzing blood and tissue samples to identify matches between the donor and those waiting for organ transplants. Allison was one of the matches. “I was so lucky. The disease is so rapid, everything happens so quickly that I might not have survived if I had to wait much longer.”

Allison now volunteers to share her story with the Blood Center and a local organ donation organization where she uses her experience to provide emotional support and education to donor and recipient families. “I feel I have a responsibility to spread the word and do everything possible to let people know. I want people to know that because someone donated, I can live.”