Organ donors, recipients celebrate together

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — People from across the Kansas City area came together Saturday for a walk in honor of organ donors and recipients through the Midwest Transplant Network’s third annual Legacy Walk at Berkley Riverfront Park.

Kari Alejandre received a heart transplant more than two decades ago.

“When I was 16, I got heart disease, a viral thing,” she said. “When I was 19, I got a transplant at Saint Luke’s (Hospital) — No. 174,”

Alejandre said she’s lived with “her perfect heart” for 20 years and even achieved a rare and remarkable feat.

“I had this a little munchkin here,” she said, gesturing toward her child, “which is not a very common occurrence. At that time, seven years (ago), there were about 70 people in the world who had a baby, healthy and both alive, after a heart transplant.”

When her transplanted heart started to fail, Alejandre was put on a waiting list and received a new heart last May.

“We all want to live,” she said. “We all want to fight to live and that’s the beauty of it.”

Organ recipients remain forever grateful for their donors, like Addisen Synder .

“She was our angel,” Addisen’s dad, Scott Snyder, said. “Full of love, full of life,”

Addisen was 11 years old last September when she was struck by a car while riding her bicycle . She died from her injuries after several days in the hospital, but organ donation helped give the tragedy meaning for her family.

“She saved 18 (people),” Scott said. “The biggest one was her heart. Her heart was always the beating the whole time.”

Those who attended the walk have one message to spread — and that’s to give.

“Our tragic incident that happened to us, being an organ donor, you are giving someone else life,” Scott said. “Somebody that is sitting in the hospital, not knowing what the next day will bring. That has really brought us happiness and joy through all of this.”

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