Family waits for organ donor: 'For me, it’s the ultimate selfless act' - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Family waits for organ donor: 'For me, it’s the ultimate selfless act'

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Nate Gunderson and his wife Genevieve are hoping a donor match for Nate can be found Nate Gunderson and his wife Genevieve are hoping a donor match for Nate can be found

SPOKANE, Wash. - Nate Gunderson is 31 years old. His wife is beautiful. His 14-month-old daughter is adorable. He has a great job. He works out regularly and he needs a new heart.
 

Follow Genevieve's blog 'Nate and His Troubled Heart'
A bacterial infection known as bacterial endocarditis is eating a hole in his heart. Doctors aren't sure how he got it, but they know how to fix it: a transplant.

Nate was flown to Spokane from his home in Seattle on May 8. His family has spent every day since hoping a donor match would be found. Without a new heart, his wife says death is certain.
 
"When I look at him I just see the handsome guy that I've always loved," said his wife Genevive Gunderson. "It's when I leave for even a couple hours and then come back that it hits me."

Nate is one of 53 people across the Northwest who need a new heart. Nationwide, more than 100,000 people are awaiting some form of organ transplant. Authorities from Lifecenter Northwest say there is a shortage of donors across the country. Eighteen people die every day while waiting for a life saving transplant, according to the center and a new patient is added to the list every 11 minutes.

Now Nate, his wife and their 14-month-old daughter Mikaela are using their story to try to increase the number of organ donors.

"I just hope that even one person gets that message and wants to sign up," said Genevieve who signed-up to be an organ donor when she got her first driver's license.  She called organ donation, "the ultimate selfless act."

"Maybe people that were never thinking of being an organ donor before could look at our family and think this could happen to us," suggested Genevieve. "It could very well be their situation two months from now because that's how fast it happened to us."

The Donate Life Today Registry is a confidential database of donation wishes to be carried out at the time of death. 

Authorities at Lifecenter urge everyone interested in organ donation to share their wishes with family members and sign-up for the national donor registry. Databases are updated at the Department of Motor Vehicles and at donatelifetoday.com.

"Even if it doesn't help Nate, being on this end of it and being the family waiting, my heart goes out to anyone literally, who's waiting for a kidney or a liver or tissue," says Genevieve.

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