Personal Stories

Featured Story

Lauren Shields
Stony Point, NY
Age at Time of Transplant:
Date of Transplant:
March 19, 2009

Following Lauren's Progress Since 2008

In April 2008, Lauren Shields experienced unexplained fatigue. After more symptoms appeared, she was diagnosed with Viral Myopathy, an enlarged heart and ultimately, Cardiomyopathy. She needed a new heart. On February 3, 2009, Lauren’s name was added to the organ transplant list.

At Lauren’s side during much of her six week wait were her mom, Jeanne; dad, David; brother, Brandon, and their dog, Lei-Lei. With her health declining sharply, Lauren was placed into a medically induced coma. She consistently received blood transfusions.

After weeks of sleeping by her daughter’s side on a makeshift window seat bed, her family got a call with the news: a donor heart was available at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.

Lauren came through her surgery in good shape but remained in the medically induced coma for a while longer. What followed wasn’t easy: she suffered a stroke, underwent kidney dialysis and physical therapy, and used a wheelchair. 

By the time school resumed in September, Lauren walked into her fourth grade classroom. Now she is back to being healthy and active, and she is an outspoken advocate for organ donation. Lauren vows that when she grows up, she plans to become a cardiologist—to help others just like her. See below for how Lauren has already dramatically impacted organ and tissue donation.


June 2012: Organ-donor bill named for Stony Point girl Lauren Shields passes New York Legislature

By Mareesa Nicosia,

NANUET — A Stony Point girl who’s advocated tirelessly to boost the number of organ donors in the state is celebrating the passage of a new law in her name that’s meant to do just that.

 Lauren Shields, a heart transplant recipient, joined her family, officials and representatives from organ donor advocacy groups on Friday June 22, 2012 to mark the passage of the bill in the state Senate and Assembly this week. 

 The bill was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

 “A bill becoming law was something that I had only read about in textbooks at school, but the reason behind it was so real to me,” the 12-year-old Shields said during a press conference at the office of state Sen. David Carlucci, D-New City. “I never want anyone to have to wait for a transplant like I did.”

Shields was 9 when she began experiencing heart failure and was diagnosed with viral myocarditis, which caused her heart muscle to swell and lose its ability to pump blood through the body.