Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

April 26, 2013

Living proof that life's a gift


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Lea got the call from her liver specialist on March 2 indicating a match had become available, and she needed to get to Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, immediately to receive it.

The surgery was a success marred only by a couple of “minor” treatable complications, according to Lea.

Fifty days after the transplant, she said she was enjoying feeling “normal” again, easing her way back into a workout routine and looking forward to getting back to Geneseo— and basketball — this fall.

As an organ recipient, Lea also is anxious to tell the world how blessed, and lucky, she feels to be alive. While the large and well-known Sobieraski clan plans a mid-May benefit/celebration in Lea’s honor, she’s been reaching out to the folks at Upstate New York Transplant Service (UNYTS) to see what she can do to help them — and all of the people who, like her, faced the prospect of dying for a lack of available, donated blood, body tissue or vital organs.


Lea Sobieraski knows she owes her life to a stranger.

She also knows that some of the people she met at Strong, fellow patients needing vital organ replacement, won’t have occasion to say the same. The odds are high that at least one of them will die waiting.

That happens partly because there are too few registered organ donors in New York state, Lea and her mom, Wendy Lanfear, told an assembly of seniors at Lockport High School on Thursday.

As they’ve turned or will soon turn 18 years old, now is as good a time as any for the students to hear the facts about organ donation — and employ them in deciding whether to get listed with the New York State Donate Life Registry, Mrs. Lanfear, an LHS consulting teacher, said.

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