Transplant parents, donor to start organ donation fund
By Brandon Reid, Assistant Editor
Tony Rushford had no idea that 80,000 U.S. patients were on a list for an organ donation or that 16 people die on average every day while waiting for a transplant when he checked the box on his drivers license for organ donation.
Three days after his 5-year-old daughter, Angela, underwent a kidney transplant in attempts to correct a polycystic kidney diseasea hereditary disease that eventually leads to kidney failureRushford wanted the rest of the world to have a better idea than he did about organ donation. He and his wife, Patty, announced on NBCs Today show Jan. 6 that they plan to start a foundation to help other patients in need of an organ transplant.
We just kind of really want to open peoples minds to the whole idea of organ donation, Tony Rushford said, in an interview from Angelas bedside at the University of Wisconsin at Madison Medical Center on Jan. 6. I didnt really know the whole need before. People are dying when they shouldnt be. There are so many organs out there and so many people who are dying and not donating their organs.
Angela Rushford had been on a cadaver from donor list for about six months before her parents placed a free classified ad in The Rock River Times seeking a kidney donor. David Harper, 38, of Mount Morris, who had never seen The Rock River Times before, responded to the ad and became the eventual donor after tests revealed he was a close enough match to Angelas type O positive blood.
The Rushfords story has gained much national and international media attention, being featured on NBCs Today show, the CBS Evening News, CBS International Radio News Network, the Associated Press, various publications and WGN, WBBM-AM radio and WMAQ-AM radio in Chicago. Reports suggest that Angelas story has already motivated thousands to become organ donors.
The Rushfords and Harper have since established the Angela Rushford Childrens Organ Donation Fund at the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL). A press conference is tentatively scheduled for Monday, Jan. 13 to announce the scope of the fund. Watch our Web site, www.rockrivertimes.com for details. In the meantime, anyone wishing to make donations in honor of Angela may contact CNFIL at 815-962-2110. Credit card donations may be made on the Web at www.cfnil.org