Stated simply, for many individuals, an organ transplant is the difference between living and dying. For a child in need of a new organ, because of advances in medical technology and postoperative care management, it is the chance to have a long and meaningful life.
For Missy Rodriguez, the founder of Missy’s Miracle, the subject of pediatric organ donation is personal. In 1985, then 10-year-old Missy received a new liver, the first successful liver transplant to be performed on a child her age. The transplant occurred not a moment too soon. After being kept alive by an experimental treatment, her liver was failing and without a transplant, she would have died.
Missy kept the story of her transplant a secret from friends and for a while, even from her eventual husband. But that changed in 2014 when following complications from a medical procedure, Missy threw herself a 40th birthday party where she announced to her friends that she had a liver transplant. The following year, in honor of the 30th anniversary of her transplant, Missy committed to raising awareness of organ and tissue donation programs and to rewarding individuals who have been impacted or advocate on behalf of these programs by founding Missy’s Miracle, a program of the New Jersey Sharing Network Foundation in New Providence.
Each year, Missy’s Miracle awards selected New Jersey High School students up to $5,000 towards their college education. Missy’s focus on education stems from her background as a school guidance and college counselor. To be eligible, applicants must submit two letters of recommendations and an essay detailing how they have been impacted by organ donation either personally or through friends and families and must be in good academic standing. Through a selection committee, over ten winners have been selected in the past five years.
Missy’s Miracle is one of the 14 finalists in the 2019 Sue Adler Team’s 100th Home Sale Program. All donations directly fund annual scholarships. To place you vote for Missy’s Miracle click here.