Sonya Davenport of Athens has the heart of a 12-year-old boy. Quite literally.
Thirteen years ago, the family of a boy killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident decided to donate their son's organs.
"It saved my life," said Davenport, now 33, who today celebrates the anniversary of the transplant. Born a blue baby, or a baby born with cyanotic heart defects, Davenport obtained her donor heart when she was 27 because the arteries from her heart were undeveloped.
Her mission now is to encourage others to consider donating their organs and to dispel myths about organ donation.
"One person who donates his or her organs could save up to eight peoples' lives and affect up to 50 people's lives with their tissue donations."
This week, at Davenport's request, Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks signed a proclamation marking April as Donate Life Month in Athens and declaring the city's support for the Alabama Organ Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissues for transplantation therapy.
Davenport is working on trying to get an AOC chapter here.
"I would like to do a little fundraiser where we could raise awareness and register people to donate," she said. "But, mainly to inform the public."
The city's proclamation included the following facts about donating organs, according to the AOC:
• About 28,951 people on the nation's organ-transplant waiting list received a life-saving or life-enhancing organ transplant in 2013. Of those, 413 received a transplant in Alabama.
• A new patient is added to the national waiting list for every 18 minutes.
• More than 122,000 men, women and children are currently on the national waiting list for organ transplantations. Of those, about 3,800 live in Alabama.
• Some 6,086 candidates on the national waiting list died while waiting for an organ transplant that did not come. Of those, 286 were on Alabama's waiting list.
For more information, go online to http://www.alabamaorgancenter.org.