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12-year-old girl's organ donation saves two lives - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

12-year-old girl's organ donation saves two lives

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Lauralyn Picard died of an undetected heart condition. The 12-year-old donated her organs and saved two lives. Lauralyn Picard died of an undetected heart condition. The 12-year-old donated her organs and saved two lives.
LAFAYETTE -

A 12-year-old New Iberia girl who died of an undetected heart condition in 2015 saved two lives. 

"She was always helping people whether she knew them or not," Rochelle Barras said of her daughter. "She would see somebody who needed and she would stop and help them. She was always a ray of sunshine." 

Lauralyn Picard was spending the night at her friends house on Aug. 9, 2015. Her mother Rochelle said about 30 minutes later she got a call from her daughter's friend who said she was unresponsive. Rochelle said at first she thought the girls were joking, because her daughter had been completely healthy.

Rochelle gave Lauralyn CPR for 45 minutes while she waited on the paramedics to arrive. She said they were able to revive her. 

"This happened on a Friday night," Rochelle said. "On the Sunday, they pronounced her brain dead and again on the Monday."

With the help of the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, Rochelle found out her daughter had an undetected heart condition that could have been treated with medicine had they known about it. 

Rochelle and Lauralyn's father decided to donate their daughter's organs. She saved two lives, which Rochelle said have now become a big part of hers. 

Rochelle wrote letters to the two recipients in January, a few months after her daughter died, telling them about her Lauralyn. 

Lauralyn's liver went to Sara Nelles who was born with a rare congenital liver disease. Nelles had been on the transplant list in California for a month and on the list in Louisiana for about 11 days.

"I knew that the person was going to be younger, because I know that they do it based on size but when I read Rochelle's letter and it was someone who was 12...I was shocked," Nelles said crying. "I never thought she would be a child and be so young."

Nelles admits that without Lauralyn's liver she would be dead. 

It is a concept that also brought Jimmy Lee to tears when he found out the young age of the donor.

Lee received the 12-year-old's pancreas and kidney. 

He had been suffering from kidney failure since 2009 and taking dialysis ever since to stay alive. 

"I would still be on that machine three times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday," Lee said. "As soon as I get off the machine, I go home and sleep several hours. That's not a way to live."

Rochelle said both Nelles and Lee have become a big part of her life. 

"You realize if it wouldn't be for my daughter and her selflessness they wouldn't be here today doing what they do," Rochelle said. "It's very rewarding."

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