Tax Donations Saving Lives

Tax Donations Saving Lives


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Ed Yeates ReportingBefore you pass by that 23-B box on your Utah tax form this year, you may want to take a look at what's happened to a spunky little nine-year-old girl from West Valley City.

They say nothing is certain but death and taxes. In the case of 9-year-old Teienna Nichols. taxpayers who began checking off a box on their tax form years ago saved her life.

At seven months of age Teienna Nichols was on the edge of death. Her liver, bloated with disease, was about two weeks away from closing down completely.

Kim Nichols, Teienna's Mother: "She was very close. When they pulled her old liver out, they said she had about two weeks of life left in her."

But that was back then. Teienna is now nine-years old, a fourth grader at Taylorsville Elementary School, and she's in exceptionally good health.

This bright, active nine-year old will mark a double eight year anniversary at tax time. She was the first to benefit from monies collected from the children's transplant fund on Utah's tax forms.

Kim Nichols: "It was a huge burden lifted off our shoulders to be able to have the money given to us to help with every medical expense."

Teienna's transplant was not only the first paid for out of the fund, she was also the first in the country to get just half a liver -- what is called a cut-down transplant. That meant a single donor's liver went not just to one child but two. That partial liver in Teienna has now regenerated into a full functioning, healthy organ.

Teienna Nichols: "I'm really active a lot. I like soccer. I like swimming, that's really fun. And I like dancing and singing - that's one of my favorite hobbies."

The fund now averages about $84,000 per year. Since 1995, 85 Utah families have benefited from all those simple check marks in tax box number 23-B.

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