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Giving the Gift of Life

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Mason Zenner likes to bowl. His mom, Amanda, is just happy that he can.

"He gets to go to school like a normal kid, he gets to play sports like a normal kid, said Amanda.

Watching him run around a dark bowling alley, you would never know that five years ago, his life depended on a phone call from a cardiologist at the University of Iowa.

"And he said, 'I don't want to get you too excited, and don't speed down here or anything but I think we found a match for Mason, said Amanda.

Mason was born with a heart defect. It didnt pump blood through his tiny body very well. Without a transplant, his organs would have failed.

"There are very few pediatric donors for organs so for kids, said The Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplant at the University of Iowa Hospitals Dr. Zoe Stewart. It's much more difficult to find them a match."

But for Mason, there was a pediatric donor. The Zenners dont know anything about him or her, but that child is never far from their minds.

"We think about them all the time. Every time I see that scar, I mean right there, that's a reminder that someone gave this selfless gift, said Amanda.

Its a selfless gift that comes to a family when they need it most. Dr. Stewart says even for patients who know that without their transplant, they wont live, they're weeping because they realize that some family somewhere else has just lost their family member, said Dr. Stewart.

Masons transplant meant so much to Amanda that those feelings came rushing back when she found out Hailey Steimel was getting a new heart. Amanda has been in touch with Haileys mom.

"I'm just so happy for her that she's going to have this long life that she's going to feel so much better when she recovers, it's just amazing, said Amanda.

Haileys heart came on Valentines Day, but even when coincidence doesnt make for a storybook ending; its hard to top the gift of life.

Doctors say Iowa has some of the most registered organ donors in the nation. But still, some people dont register because they think theyre too old. Doctors say there is still a chance to donate other tissues that could save a life.

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