April is National Donate Life Month, so it’s a perfect time to shine a light on a local organization helping transplant patients and their families.
Lorrinda Gray-Davis knows first-hand the lifeline that a transplant can provide.
“I had a couple months to live. If it wasn’t for that transplant, I wouldn’t be here," said Gray-Davis, the founder and president of TRIO Oklahoma.
Lorrinda was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2017, and a year later received a transplant.
She said she got great support from her doctors, friends, and family, but still, something was missing.
“I felt alone. It was that feeling of finding someone that’s just like you who’s been through it and sharing that journey,” said Gray-Davis.
That’s where TRIO comes in.
Lorrinda joined the nonprofit’s national board in 2019, then opened a local chapter last year.
TRIO helps pre- and post-transplant patients and their families through support, advocacy, education and awareness.
“To share in a meeting how they’re feeling and someone post-transplant and someone pre-transplant say, 'I’ve got you and I understand,' is just imperative for patient outcome and mental health,” said Gray-Davis.
The Reynolds family from Tishomingo knows just how important that support can be.
Cody and Kellie Reynold's one and a half year-old daughter Elaina was born prematurely at 32 weeks with a rare liver disease that will require a transplant.
“She is pretty strong. There’s no way that I can handle just as much as she has, but she gets stronger every day and she’s showing everybody that," said Kellie.
Elaina has received three offers for a new liver, but none have worked out yet.
The Reynolds have been attending the weekly peer-to-peer support group sessions to help them through the ups and downs.
“When we’re having bad days or something, they’re like, 'yeah, what you guys are going through isn’t just ya’ll. Everyone that’s had a transplant will have bad days at some point.' It’s been a big help,” said Kellie.
If you'd like to help the Reynolds' family, they have a GoFundMe set up.
TRIO Oklahoma hosts peer-to-peer support groups every Thursday night from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Zoom.
You can find more information about TRIO Oklahoma by visiting their website or calling them at 405-302-8400.