Tyla Newbold is alive today because of organ donations and she is happy to share her story.
On August 3, 1997, Tyla received her new liver from a local woman, Caroline Bryant, who had died from injuries from an auto accident. She will ride the Donate Life Rose Parade float alongside her donor’s son, Carter, who still sleeps with the blanket Tyla made for him in honor of his mother, who gave life to Tyla the day after Carter was born.
While most of Tyla Newbold’s peers were getting their driver’s licenses, she was getting a life-saving liver transplant. Her doctors gave her two weeks to live when the organ became available.
At age 12, Tyla was diagnosed with primary antiphospholipid syndrome, which clotted the blood in her liver. During numerous trips to the ER and Children’s Hospital, Tyla saw more than 48 doctors before she was finally diagnosed. At that time, there was no record of another child ever having Tyla’s condition.
As Tyla’s disease progressed, the ongoing clots scarred her liver. “One of my doctors told me that my liver was failing and I was going to die,” said Tyla. “I asked him, ‘Why don’t I just get a new liver?’ He said that it was out of the question. My disease was so rare that all treatments were experimental, and he didn’t think that a transplant would help. But my wonderful GI doctor felt that there was nothing to lose by trying it, so I was put on the waiting list.
“My condition was very painful, and my parents used humor and positive distractions to keep my mind off the pain. One of the best distractions was meeting All-4-One, my favorite group. They are incredible guys and have been a part of my life ever since. I was also blessed to be a Make-A-Wish kid.” Tyla also had an impact on the pop singing group, who credit her with introducing them to organ donation, which ultimately inspired their new song, “When I Needed an Angel.”
After 18 months on the waiting list, Tyla’s liver had become enlarged to three times normal size, hemorrhaging upon touch. On August 3, 1997, Tyla received her new liver from a local woman, Caroline Bryant, who had died from injuries from an auto accident. The surgery took more than 11 hours. “I died on the operating table, and they had to give me a triple bypass for the surgery to be a success,” she confirmed.
After her transplant, Tyla was able to attend her first full year of school in five years. She graduated with her class and then went to college. She has been a spokesperson for the American Red Cross to promote blood and plasma donation and has helped educate people about organ donation. “I have been blessed to be able to inspire others by sharing my story and my experiences,” said Tyla.
She will also have the opportunity to ride the Donate Life Rose Parade float with her donor’s son, Carter, who still sleeps with the blanket Tyla made for him in honor of his mother, who gave life to Tyla the day after Carter was born.
To become an organ donor, or to learn more about organ and tissue donation, you can visit, www.yesutah.org.