At 10 years old, Sarah Murnaghan has been left with only a couple of weeks to live due to her bout with cystic fibrosis. The sheer severity of Sarah's illness should make her a priority on the list for her much needed lung transplant; however, of all things her age may get in the way of the life-saving procedure.
"The only thing standing between my daughter living and my daughter dying is the fact that she's 10 and not 12," Sarah's mother, Janet Murnaghan, told Fox 29 Philadelphia. "That's unreal to me."
One can only the imagine the agony Janet faces while she sits in her daughters room at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia watching Sarah's lungs deteriorate. A beam of light shined through when the family found out her name would be placed on a list for adult organ transplants.
Their sense of hope dwindled when they found out Sarah's age would prevent her from making it high on that list. A national organ donor law prohibits anyone under the age of 12 from receiving an organ before an adult even if their condition is more serious.
"Since we really have gotten to understand the rules of all of this in the last week or two, it's really driven us to speak out," Sarah's father, Fran Murnaghan explained to Fox 29.
The organ transplant system in the United States is controlled by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Recent changes implemented by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), which assist UNOS in finding organs, has put an age limit on climbing the list.
Now with help from Sarah's doctors, family and friends are fighting to appeal this rule that could impede upon her survival. As of today, a petition on Change.org is just over 5,500 digital signatures short of the foundations 35,000 goal in support of the initiative.
Causing fatal damage to the lungs and digestive system, cystic fibrosis affects the production of important bodily fluids such as mucus and sweat. Since the disease affects both lungs, both of them must be replaced in order for the procedure to be effective.