POSTED: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 9:37pm
UPDATED: Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 11:33am
Nine year old Natalie Mirage is a normal little girl -- she likes to swim, jump, and play. But there's one thing that makes her different from other children. Last year, Natalie was diagnosed with Good Pasture Syndrome, a very rare kidney disease that almost killed her.
It all started when Natalie's mother, Patti, took her to the doctor's office after Natalie had been vomiting profusely and sick with diarrhea for days. The doctor said it was Mono but further tests concluded that her kidneys were actually failing, and that's when Natalie's journey to find a kidney donor began.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a non-profit organization that manages the nation's transplant system under a federal government contract, only 1% to 2% of people who die remain in the proper condition to have their organs donated. That means the list of people who need a kidney, for instance, is much longer than the number of kidneys that are available. Unfortunately, that gap is growing.
The longer a person is on the donor list, the better their chance of getting the next available kidney. Young children and hypersensitive patients are also given priority over the rest.
Natalie is currently on this kidney donor list but her family is searching for a live donor -- someone who is willing to donate their kidney to natalie right away.
Medical professionals say outcomes for patients who receive kidneys from a live donor are much better than getting a kidney from a deceased person. The live donor can be much better screened and transported to be closer to the patient who is receiving the transplant, making travel time for the organ shorter.
Natalie has an O blood type and needs a donor with either O positive or O negative blood. Her mother says it's been difficult trying to find a donor for Natalie because her body rejects 70% of the population. She currently undergoes dialysis for 10 hours each day and takes a number of different medications. Her family, however, remains optimistic that Natalie will soon recover.
"Natalie's Prayer Army" and "Pray For Natalie" are the two Facebook pages that Patti hopes can spread the word and help them find a donor. If you're interested in being a donor for Natalie, you can contact her mother, Patti Mirage at 423-747-3604 or Pat_mirage@hotmail.com