11-year-old Sofia Sanchez takes the stage again with her own organ donor commercial

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Sofia Sanchez' transplant story went viral last summer when she got a surprise hospital visit from rapper Drake, shortly before getting a heart transplant at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Seven months after her surgery, the 11-year-old dreams of helping spreading the message of how becoming an organ donor can help save lives.

Sanchez is teaming up with Secretary of State Jesse White, and starring in her own commercial about the importance of being an organ donor.

Sofia owes her life to a child who lost his own life but donated their heart.

"It is so important, some people don't even realize how important it is," Sanchez said. "My aunt and a couple of my other family members became an organ donor because of me. My aunt passed away two months ago because of a brain aneurysm, but she changed before she passed away, and she saved two people's lives."

About 300 people die every year in the state of Illinois while waiting for an organ transplant.

Director of Heart Transplants at Lurie Hospital Dr. Carl Becker said there are four children just like Sofia at the hospital awaiting heart transplants, but that Sofia has inspired them.

"Last year we did 26 heart transplants which is the most we've ever done, we were number two in the country for pediatrics," Dr. Becker said.

Ralph Lopriore's 8-year-old son Maddox was taken suddenly from his family last October when he suffered from what doctors think was a brain aneurysm from dehydration. They made Maddox an organ donor and he now lives on through others.

"You don't really think about it when your child is dying," said Lopriore, "Maddox is living on through 41 different people."

To become a donor you can select the option when you get a new driver's license, or you can go online and register on the Donate Life Illinois website.
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