WASHINGTON TERRACE -- A Bonneville High School student is hoping to bring more awareness to the importance of organ donation.
Jordan Little, a junior and vice president of DECA, a student leadership organization, has asked two organ-transplant recipients to speak to students during a Jan. 19 assembly she hopes will bring about an organ donor awareness day at the school as declared by city councils.
"This project is called 'Be a Hero, Save a Life, Be an Organ Donor,' " she said.
"I would really like for this to be an ongoing event, so the students can plan things on organ donor awareness day to bring about more awareness. I'm hoping the South Ogden and Washington Terrace city councils will appoint us our own awareness day."
Jordan said the idea came about because Bonneville teacher Ralph Andersen lost his 20-year-old son, Rex, last year while waiting for a double lung and liver transplant. Rex's brother, James, has cystic fibrosis and will one day need a transplant.
"I didn't know Rex really well, but James is a friend of mine," Jordan said.
"I just want more people to know about the importance of being a donor so James doesn't have to die waiting for a transplant. I really don't think a lot of people are aware of the importance of it."
During the assembly, Mykel Ramsey, 20, of West Haven, and Ryann Proctor, 21, of Riverton, will speak about their experiences. Both received kidneys.
"When I was 2 years old, I was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS)," Ramsey said. "By the age of 4, both of my kidneys were removed and I was put on dialysis until I received a kidney that same year. In fact, it was my dad's birthday, Dec. 23, 1996. Within 36 hours of the transplant, the disease had returned, and I spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital."
FSGS is a disorder in the blood-filtering parts of the kidneys called the glomeruli, according to the National Kidney Foundation. These filters eventually scar and no longer function correctly.
During her junior year at Fremont High School, Ramsey was told her kidney was failing and she was again put on the transplant list. On July 15, 2009, she received a second kidney transplant.
"They told me there was an 80 percent chance the disease would quickly return, but it's been two and a half years, and so far I'm in the clear," she said.
Ramsey, who works at Washington Heights Church and Lindquist Field, where the Ogden Raptors play, hasn't let her illness and the side effects of her medication slow her down.
She went on a church mission to Guatemala last year and plans to attend Weber State University later this year.
"I hope people will realize the great need there is out there for organ transplants," Ramsey said. "I would just ask them to get involved and see if they can help another person. I'm really grateful for my transplants. It hasn't been easy.
"I have to take pills for the rest of my life, and the side effects include insomnia and restless leg syndrome, but I'm alive and I thank God for that every day."