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14 Year- Old West Haven Boy Got Heart Transplant

West Haven teen doing OK after heart transplant, says he is looking forward to playing basketball (By Mark Zaretsky, New Haven Register -April 15, 2015)

April is National Organ & Tissue Donor Awareness Month. Nationally, African Americans represent 36 percent of those who are waiting for a kidney transplant. African Americans are 13.6 percent of the national population.  See below for more information about organ donation

Rajay Linton is only 14 years old; he attends Bailey Middle School, but he needed a new heart if he was to continue living.  And yes, the urban myth not withstanding, many African Americans (or black people) need and get organ transplants.  This is why it is so critical that more African Americans become donors and be receptive to getting information about organ donation.

WEST HAVEN >> Rajay Linton of West Haven — a new, transplanted heart beating strongly in his 14-year-old chest — relaxed and recovered in his New York City hospital room Wednesday afternoon after successful surgery that began in the wee hours and continued well into morning, his aunt said.

“Everything went great!” a happy, relieved Blossom Linton, Rajay’s aunt and adoptive mother, said by phone from New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. “It’s a burden lifted,” although she added, “I knew that everything was going to be OK.”

“It went well,” Linton said. “The doctor said it went well from a surgical standpoint. ... We are excited!”

Rajay, a seventh-grader at Harry M. Bailey Middle School, “said he was looking forward to playing basketball” once he recovers, Linton said.

According to Linton, medical personnel began prepping Rajay for surgery after 1:30 a.m..

The surgery began about 4:30 a.m.; the family was informed that doctors had removed Rajay’s old, damaged heart about 6 a.m. and finished putting in the new one at about 8 a.m., she said.

While she was talking on the phone, one of Rajay’s doctors came by to update her on his condition.

“The doctor said everything is going great,” she said. “Everything is good!

“The doctors here are great!” she said.

The family went to New York for the surgery, and had hundreds of families in West Haven and beyond pulling for Rajay.

Many wished Rajay good luck and offered their prayers — both for Rajay and the family of the child who died so he might live — on several West Haven-related social media sites, including the Register’s “Westies Watch,” the “West Haven Bullytin” and the “West Haven — The Way It Is” Facebook pages.

A recent crowdfunding campaign that Linton organized has raised $6,448 to date to help ensure that the family, which does have insurance, doesn’t get stretched too thin when Linton has to take time off from her job during Rajay’s recovery, which would take several months.

April is also National Organ Donation Month.  A single complete donor can save the lives of 8 people and enhance the quality of life for dozens more.  Nationally, there are more than 123K people waiting for organ transplants; in CT, as of April 10, 2015, there were 1,262 people waiting for a kidney transplant, and another 20 who are waiting for a combined kidney and pancreas transplant; there are 165 waiting for a liver, and there are 38 people waiting for a heart transplant. What are the chances that those waiting for heart and liver will get a timely gift?  A transplant greatly enhances the quality of life for kidney recipients (by removing them from dialysis) and reducing the cost of health care in the long term. For those waiting for a heart, pancreas or liver transplant it is the difference between life and death within a given length of time. There is a need for greater receptivity to educational information about organ donation within the African American and black community overall; too many myths prevail.  There is a much greater need for everyone to be willing to be organ and tissue donors by signing the consent on your drivers license renewal form. The ability to Save Lives is a GIFT.

Years ago, those of us who worked in the transplant field had a slogan that said:  Don't take your organs to Heaven because Heaven knows that we need them here.

There was a Historic eight-person kidney transplant at Yale this year.  Read about that here:

Learn much more at Organ Donation and Transplantation in CT at:

Visit OneWorld's web site to get much more details about Organ and Tissue donation and see recent videos by visiting:

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Comment by N'Zinga Shani on April 20, 2015 at 2:25am

Someone lost a child last Wednesday, but that grieving family saved the life of a West Haven Middle School boy by donating their child's heart. That's the ultimate in generosity.  Be an organ donor. One complete donor can save 9 lives. Please read and SHARE OneWorld's blog post listed here on GNH Community.

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