'There is nothing like the joy she brings:' Issue of organ transplants and disabilities spark change
A new North Dakota law in place prevents discrimination against people with disabilities when organ donation is needed to save or change a life.
FARGO — Annalise Duffy of Fargo remembers reading the story of a baby boy with Down syndrome who died while needing a heart transplant but was denied.
Duffy said she thought the story happened in another country and was surprised to learn it happened in Florida.
It is called medical discrimination, and because several states don't have laws banning it, it's still going on.
"Right now, there are 17 states with no legislation in place and North Dakota was one of them," Duffy said.
But this week Duffy, her daughter Lakyn, and several other moms watched as Gov. Doug Burgum sign a new bill into law.
The new North Dakota law in place prevents discrimination against people with disabilities when organ donation is needed to save or change a life.
Duffy and others who got the ball rolling are proud the state got it done.
"I don't feel like it's me. I feel like there's all the moms that I've connected with, all the people I've connected with that supported me and my family on this journey of learning about Down syndrome and raising a child with Down syndrome that empower you and let you know it's okay and that you can do these hard things," Duffy said.
"She's the best thing that could have happened to our family," Duffy said.
One mom, her daughter's story, and the stories of other North Dakota children who needed another voice to protect them. Now, the whole state celebrates along with a family. One of many who are grateful for doing the right thing.
"It's hard to think that there was a time that I didn't know if I even wanted her and now it's like, 'Man, I would take 100 of her,'" Duffy said.