North Santa Rosa

Gabby Waits on a New Heart

Tragically, 19 people die every day in the United States, waiting on a organ transplant.  If you would accept an organ, why wouldn’t you become a donor.  You can visit the National Network for Organ Donors (TNNOD)  to register and find more information .

Below is the story of one young girl who is on the top of the list.  She may be someone you know.  Or she could be your family member one day.

Gabrielle Danford, age 15, a 10thgrade student at Central School, has a great personality and is always smiling no matter what goes on that day. Her favorite things to do are hunting and drawing.   Gabby is described by her aunt as a very special and happy child.  “She is the oldest of four kids in the house, and thinks she has to be the leader and help me take care of them”, stated her aunt, Jennifer Blair.  Jennifer has been raising Gabby and her brother, Cory for 10 years, “I have come to depend on Gabby because she is a big help and very responsible”.  Gabrielle has been through a lot in her life. She lost her mom, her grandmother and her great-grandmother all in the same year. Jennifer brought Gabby and Cory into her home so they would be raised in a 2 parent household.  She believes that family is number one and  put her own grieving aside to make sure that the children were taken care of.

Gabby was hunting the week she got sick.  She went from normal Gabrielle to deathly sick. “ It was so unusual for Gabby to be sick at all, over the past 5 years she has not even had a cold”, remembers her Aunt Jennifer. Now, the family is in Gainesville awaiting a heart.  Gabby contracted a virus that attacked her heart and damaged it so severely, it must be replaced.

Gabby is on the ventilator machine, and she is being sedated to a point. The sedation medication doesn’t really make her unconscious so she is awake most of the time. She isn’t able to talk, and they have to keep her hands tied down so she is unable to pull on her tubes. She doesn’t like her hands to be tied because it makes her feel trapped, so when the family is present they are able to untie her hands. She communicates by writing on a note pad.

Gabby is at the top of the transplant list and she will get the next available heart. Her ejection fraction is at 15 percent and it is supposed to be 55 to 75 (that is major heart failure). She has been running a fever for over 4 days and right now the doctors are unsure what is causing the fever. They are running several test on her but as of now, they have had no luck.

Gabby is fighting as hard as she can and she is very scared. She will have no chance at life without a new heart. The family has been told we will not leave until she has a new heart.

Students at Central have rallied to support Gabby and her family.  They have sent cards, emails, phone calls and are organizing events to get involved raising funds for the family.  They have dedicated their Jump Rope for Heart in her honor.  Jars have been placed in each homeroom to collect funds and also in local stores. They chose to wear RED in her honor on Friday, Feb. 3.  The grouped together to form a heart and sent her a photo of it.

Gabrielle’s story made me sad, then brought tears to my eyes.  I selected years ago to be an organ donor on my driver’s license and realized that it may not be sufficient.  Today, reading more information on the TNNOD I was motivated to register with them as a full organ donor.  I hope you will become a donor also.

Posted by on Feb 6 2012. Filed under Central, Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

4 Comments for “Gabby Waits on a New Heart”

  1. Tammy

    Roy’s Barber Shop is planning to get a jar for donations as well! God bless you Jennifer for taking in Gabby and Cory; you are such a wonderful person, aunt, mom and friend!

  2. Mindy Jordan

    I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to teach Gabby in 7th grade. She is one of the sweetest children I’ve ever taught. She’s always in a good mood. I’m praying for you Gabby, and I also plan on setting up a donation jar at Jay High School to help the family with medical expenses.

    • North Santa Rosa

      thanks Mindy, What a wonderful place we live in. In times of our deepest troubles the people of North Santa Rosa can come together and help one another. We are truly showing God’s love at a time when this family needs to see it the most.

  3. Romona

    Just to add so everyone will know there are also donation jars set up at three stores in the area. At the short stop on munson hwy, ruths store at munson cross roades and blairs tot-a-bag in berrydale. These were placed by one of Gabbys friends. Savanna Foster she wanted to what she could to help her friends family. Please pray for all of them. Thanks and God Bless

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