Local motor vehicle office celebrates “National Donate Life Blue and Green Day” April 21

   The Kittson County Motor Vehicle office celebrated the National Donate Life Blue & Green Day April 21st by posing with a local organ recipient.
Jillyne Moris Stauffenecker, daughter of Jim and Janine Moris, Pembina, N.D., is one recipient of organ donation that is helping to spread the word of the importance of being an organ donor.
“My transplant journey began in the fall of 2000 when doctors were finally able to put a name to the unresolved symptoms I had been experiencing for two years,” explained Stauffenecker, “I had autoimmune liver disease; in essence, my body was creating antibodies to destroy its own tissue.”
“For five years, we attempted to stabilize the disease with medication, but it was ultimately uncontrollable and my condition took a turn for the worse,” she added. “In February 2005, I was diagnosed with liver cancer, and my name was at the top of a transplant list.”
On March 16, Stauffenecker received a call from Mayo that they had a liver from a deceased donor. It was a match.
“On March 17, 2005, a week after my 20th birthday, I received a liver transplant that ultimately saved my life,” she explained. “What a birthday present that was. I actually had two surgeries that day as a blood clot had formed and they had to go back in and fix it. My dad says it was a very scary few days.”
Today, 12 years later, she is healthier and more active than ever. She is a wife and mother of three children, ages 2, 4, and 6. Her and her husband, Allen Stauffenecker, are living and raising their family on the farm, like she had always dreamed.
“I take anti-rejection medications every day and will for the rest of my life,” Stauffenecker explained. “Such a small price to pay for getting my life back.”
“I am reminded daily in so many ways of the blessings that have stemmed from this miracle, all because someone checked that little box. They didn’t know then what a difference it would make, but I know if not for the gift of this transplant, I may never have experienced any of the realities of my daily life,” she commented on the importance of organ donation. “My donor was a 40 something woman, the selfless decision of her donor and her family gave me another shot at life, and for that, I will be forever grateful. What I wouldn’t give to be able to meet them someday.”
Kittson County is in the 60-70 percentile for organ donators. They are the only one in northwestern Minnesota in this category and are joined by 14 other counties. Surrounding counties are in the 45-44 percentile.
Out of the 87 counties in Minnesota only five are higher, in the 70-100 percentile, and include Traverse, Douglas, Carver, Houston and Pope.
If you’d like to become an organ donor you can do this when you get or renew your driver’s license.

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