Second Chances – Organ Donation Awareness Program in Washoe County, NV
January 5-11, 2021
We’ve all seen the lights in the rearview mirror, heard the siren and the words “license and registration, please.” Yet, on January 5 – 11, 2021, Washoe County motorists who have the organ donor heart on their up-to-date Nevada DMV driver’s license could be told that they are being given a second chance to correct their violation without a citation or fine because their status as an organ donor gives a fellow citizen hope for a second chance at life. The Second Chances Program allows Washoe County Sheriff’s deputies to positively engage with motorists who have taken the heroic action of registering as an organ and tissue donor.
Second Chances is a partnership between Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and Donor Network West to bring awareness to the over 600 Nevadans currently awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant. Washoe County Sheriff’s deputies, at their discretion, can give motorists with minor traffic violations a “warning ticket” rather than a citation. Additionally, at the discretion of individual Sheriff’s deputies, motorists who are not registered organ donors may be informed that they are being given a second chance to fix their violation without a citation in return for their consideration to register as an organ donor online or at the DMV.
Organ donation is personal to the Washoe County Sheriff’s department. January 5, 2021 marks the one year anniversary of Washoe County Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Tone’s daughter, Reagan’s, life being saved with a kidney transplant.
At 20 weeks gestation, Kelsey and her husband, Nick Tone, learned that they would be having a baby girl. However, they also learned that there might be a complication with swelling that was present in their baby’s kidneys. After seeing a local specialist, Kelsey and Nick were given a referral to Stanford. Their baby, Reagan, had stage 4 hydronephrosis and deformed kidneys with multiple cysts. After completing an imaging appointment at Lucille Packard Stanford Children’s Hospital on January 3, 2017, they were driving home to Reno when they received a call from the hospital instructing them to come back after imaging had been reviewed. The doctors were worried that Reagan would be born prematurely. Fortunately, Reagan was a fighter and remained in utero until her birth on March 4, 2017. At this time, the Tone family was informed that Reagan had end stage renal disease and would need to go on peritoneal dialysis until she would be eligible to receive a kidney transplant. The average wait was approximately 3 years for a baby and she would have to be the appropriate size and weight to sustain an adult kidney.
At four-days-old, Reagan had her dialysis catheter surgery and began 24 hours of dialysis with a single nurse administering the fluid in cycles to try to rid the high levels of creatine. Reagan spent two months in the NICU with numerous blood draws, a few central lines, and lots of love from her caring nurses. She went to the PICU following the NICU where Kelsey and Nick learned to use a dialysis cycler so they could continue her care from their home. In October 2017, Reagan took an emergency care flight for an abdominal hernia repair as a side effect of pressure from the high fill volumes of dialysis. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence with dialysis patients regardless of their age.
In October 2019, Reagan received an open hip reduction surgery where she was given donor bone tissue to rebuild her hip socket. She remained in a spica cast for six weeks and relearned how to walk. This was a result from having no fluid in utero due to her failing kidney. Reagan worked with a physical therapist, speech language pathologist, and developmental specialist while home on dialysis. Several people, including Kelsey and Nick, got tested to see if they could be a kidney donor match for Reagan. Unfortunately, due to strict guidelines, Reagan needed a perfect kidney.
On January 5th, Reagan received her perfect kidney after a young woman in her early 20s passed away unexpectedly. This was a very emotional day for the Tones knowing that a family had just lost their daughter while saving theirs. They think about that family often and how their daughter was able to save baby Reagan’s life.
“There are no words to even begin to describe our gratitude for what this family has done by saving our little girls life through their daughter’s heroic actions. Time has been a gift we don’t take for granted.” -Kelsey Tone
Presently, Reagan is a vibrant three-year-old that enjoys preschool and finds joy in all things. She has experienced hundreds of blood draws in her short life and just received a G-Button for feeding support in December 2020. She has become very empathetic and compassionate towards others. She teaches her parents the meaning of strength, courage, and remaining positive every day.