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*NEW* Ivy, tissue recipient

Stories of Hope

See how organ, eye and tissue donation has healed lives.

Ivy, tissue recipient

Ivy enjoys being outdoors and loves to dance. As a nurse, Ivy is attuned to the needs of others and is always ready to do whatever she can to help her patients. She did not expect an accident to leave her as a patient needing care.

Ivy suffered an ACL injury while skiing. The damage to her knee was extensive, putting her active lifestyle in jeopardy. Ivy’s best hope for recovery was to have her tendon replaced with a donor tendon. She received her tissue transplant and; after dedicating months to physical therapy, Ivy is back on her feet.

Ivy is appreciative of the significant role her family and friends played during her recovery. The emotional and physical support they provided gave her the boost she needed as she relearned simple tasks like walking and bathing. She is also thankful for the healthcare team that enabled her to recover quickly from her injury. Above all else, Ivy is grateful to her donor for the opportunity to resume her outdoor adventures and for the ability to partake in everyday activities like taking her “puppy” Skye on walks — all without pain. Her transplantation experience had another positive outcome as well. Ivy was inspired to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor herself, ultimately making her donor’s gift one that keeps on giving.

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95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 56% are registered.
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*NEW* Landon and Lynette, donor and donor mom

Stories of Hope

See how organ, eye and tissue donation has healed lives.

Landon and Lynette, donor and donor mom

Landon had a peaceful nature, a great sense of humor and a contagious smile. He always greeted others with a firm handshake or a heartfelt hug. Combined with his positive, “don’t sweat the small stuff” approach to life, it was difficult to be in a bad mood when Landon was around. A loving son, brother and friend, Landon played an integral part in maintaining his family’s close-knit relationship.

It was an early Sunday morning in October when Landon’s mom, Lynette, received a devastating phone call. Landon, 24, had been jogging with his older brother when he suddenly collapsed and never regained consciousness. In his passing, Landon was able to make a difference in the lives of many people as a tissue and cornea donor.

Thinking of the kindness Landon always showed others has taught Lynette about the importance of forging and maintaining family ties, friendships and Christian love. He has also taught her about the importance — and impact — of registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor. Lynette has become an active donation advocate. She shares Landon’s story and tells how, in the midst of overwhelming loss, she found comfort in knowing that Landon’s last act was to help others. Lynette supports other donor families as they cope with their grief, and she educates her local community about the importance of donation and the need for registered donors.

As Lynette puts it when speaking to other donor families, “We can all boast that our loved ones possessed a spirit, personality, compassion and zeal for life that were too large to be contained in one body.”

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95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 56% are registered.
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*NEW* Minesh, cornea recipient

Stories of Hope

See how organ, eye and tissue donation has healed lives.

Minesh, cornea recipient

Minesh was a 22-year-old college student when his vision began failing. An eye exam, revealed more than a basic need for glasses — he had keratoconus, a degenerative eye disease in which the cornea thins out and bulges into a cone shape. Contact lenses helped for a while, enabling him to graduate and start practicing as a chiropractor, but Minesh’s condition continued to worsen. At 29, he needed a double corneal transplant to save his eyesight.

A year after his transplant surgeries, Minesh had full vision again, but it was not just his eyesight that had returned. The gifts he received from his two donors inspired Minesh to reclaim his former active lifestyle. Seeing the world in a new way, he was determined to get in shape. He ran in a 10K race and then kept on running — and cycling, scuba diving and playing tennis.

He now has six chiropractic centers, which he operates with his wife and business partner, Nisha. He and Nisha are also the proud parents of two young daughters. Minesh is thankful for the circle of emotional and physical care he received during his recovery. Nisha’s unwavering support at home and at work, the kindness of patients, and his neighbor’s willingness to assist with yard work and transportation needs made all the difference in his transplantation journey. As a registered organ, eye and tissue donor himself, Minesh is also extremely grateful to the two donors who gave him back his quality of life and a newfound desire to live his life to the fullest.

Registration takes less than a minute.

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95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 56% are registered.
Help bridge the gap by sharing.

*NEW* Renee, heart recipient

Stories of Hope

See how organ, eye and tissue donation has healed lives.

Renee, heart recipient

Renee is a Native American woman from the Pueblo of the San Ildefonso Tribe in New Mexico. She was a 40-year-old wife and mother of two young girls, working fulltime and physically active, when she suddenly became very ill. Renee learned that a virus had attacked her heart, causing it to beat three times faster than normal. She had a device placed in her chest to keep her heart beating; however, over the course of the next three years, Renee was in and out of emergency rooms and had numerous hospital stays. Her heart deteriorated rapidly, until she could barely walk or even brush her teeth. A heart transplant was Renee’s only hope for survival.

In October 2002, a matching heart was donated, and Renee received the transplant that gave her a second chance at life. Nearly 16 years later, she is a proud grandmother and donation advocate. Renee’s experience inspired her to share her story with others to raise awareness for heart disease and to educate the Native American community about the importance of registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor.

Renee was profoundly touched by the support she received from her family and her tribe throughout her transplantation journey. They were there for Renee at her greatest time of need, bringing meals, caring for her daughters, taking her to appointments and holding fundraisers to help with medical costs until she was back on her feet again. Renee is also forever grateful to her donor “angel” and donor family for giving her the gift of life.

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95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 56% are registered.
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*NEW* Vanessa, kidney recipient

Stories of Hope

See how organ, eye and tissue donation has healed lives.

Vanessa, kidney recipient

Vanessa was 21 years old when she first started feeling ill. She tried to ignore her symptoms and continue with life as usual but soon ended up in the hospital. She learned that she had Goodpasture syndrome, a rare condition that attacks the lungs and kidneys. Vanessa received a treatment for her lungs, but her kidneys had been permanently damaged. For the next 11 years, Vanessa juggled a full-time job and daily dialysis treatments. When the dialysis stopped helping, a kidney transplant was her only chance to live.

Vanessa’s father, Gilbert, was a perfect match for living donation. Six months later, at the age of 32, Vanessa got her new kidney. She felt better immediately and the recovery process was smooth for both Vanessa and Gilbert. In less than two months, Vanessa was ready to get back to living and to start pursuing her dreams.

Vanessa found love and a business partner in the year following her transplant. She met her fiancé, Ben, and opened a successful restaurant, which they own together. As the chef, Vanessa is on her feet for many hours each day, something that would not have been possible without her transplant. Her new kidney also enabled Vanessa to achieve something that she never dreamed would be possible — becoming a mom to a healthy baby girl, LisaMarie. Gilbert and Vanessa’s living donation journey has strengthened their bond, and Vanessa will be forever grateful for the care she received from her family and for the gift of life she received from her father.

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95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 56% are registered.
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*NEW* Vanessa, beneficiaria de riñón

Stories of Hope

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Vanessa, beneficiaria de riñón

Vanessa tenía 21 años cuando se empezó a sentir mal. Ella trató de ignorar los síntomas y continúo con su vida cotidiana, pero pronto terminó en el hospital. Se enteró de que tenía síndrome de Goodpasture, una afección rara que ataca a los pulmones y los riñones. Vanessa recibió tratamiento para los pulmones pero los riñones habían recibido un daño permanente. Durante los próximos 11 años, Vanessa hizo malabares entre su trabajo a tiempo completo y los tratamientos diarios de diálisis. Cuando la diálisis dejó de funcionar, un trasplante de riñón se convirtió en la única oportunidad que tenía para vivir.

El padre de Vanessa, Gilbert, era un candidato perfecto para la donación en vida. Seis meses más tarde, a los 32 años de edad, Vanessa recibió su nuevo riñón. Inmediatamente se sintió mejor y ni Vanessa ni Gilbert sufrieron complicaciones durante el proceso de recuperación. En menos de dos meses, Vanessa estaba lista para retomar su vida y empezar a perseguir sus sueños.

Vanessa encontró el amor y un compañero de negocios el año siguiente a su trasplante. Conoció a su prometido, Ben, y abrió un restaurante exitoso, del que ambos son dueños. Como chef, Vanessa está parada muchas horas por día, algo que no podría haber hecho sin su trasplante. Su nuevo riñón también le permitió lograr algo que nunca creyó que podría ser posible: convertirse en la madre de una bebé saludable, Lisa Marie. La donación en vida de Gilbert a Vanessa fortaleció su vínculo, y Vanessa siempre estará agradecida por los cuidados que recibió de su familia y por el regalo de vida que recibió de su padre.

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95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 56% are registered.
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*NEW* Za-non, kidney recipient

Stories of Hope

See how organ, eye and tissue donation has healed lives.

Za-Non, kidney recipient

Za-Non was a college student studying architecture in Ohio when he began experiencing frequent headaches. One especially severe headache sent Za-Non to the emergency room, where he was shocked to learn that he had high blood pressure and was in kidney failure. Za-Non was immediately admitted to the hospital and received blood transfusions to save his life. Two months later, he was finally discharged from the hospital, but required dialysis treatments thee times a week.

Despite his dire condition, Za-Non was determined to accomplish his goal of graduating from college. Za-Non’s mom, Charmaine, helped him to achieve that when she donated one of her kidneys to him. With renewed health, Za-Non completed his studies and received his architecture degree that fall. Unfortunately, eight years later, recurring issues with his new kidney required Za-Non to return to dialysis and be placed on the national transplant waiting list for a second kidney transplant.

Rather than simply wait, Za-Non took action in an effort to support others waiting for organs. He used his fraternal affiliation with Omega Psi Fraternity to spread the word about the importance of donation. Za-Non also shared his story at numerous public-speaking events, educating the multicultural community about the need for more registered organ, eye and tissue donors. Za-Non has received his second kidney transplant and is healthy once again. Excited about his future, Za-Non is forever grateful for his donor’s lifesaving gift.

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95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 56% are registered.
Help bridge the gap by sharing.

*NEW* Daniel, cornea recipient

Stories of Hope

See how organ, eye and tissue donation has healed lives.

Daniel, cornea recipient

Daniel has always been very active, starting back in high school on the basketball team. It was during his freshman year when he was diagnosed with a corneal disease called Keratoconous. However, he was able to function with regular soft contact lenses, and his vision was good enough to excel on the court and in the classroom.

After graduating from high school, and later college, the disease began to take a toll on Daniel’s eyesight. The disease had deformed his right cornea to the point where he was legally blind in his right eye. He became depressed and neglected his health. Then, one day in the middle of a work presentation, his right cornea ruptured, and his eye swelled to the point where the blue color of his iris was no longer visible.

Three months later, he received the life-changing gift of a corneal transplant. “Not a day goes by where I do not thank my donor and her family for that gift.”

After Daniel’s transplant, he began running, swimming and cycling. He lost over 60 pounds. He has competed in two Ironman competitions and three marathons. His partner, who helped him every day during the traumatic experience with soothing eye drops and medication, became his wife. Together they have three beautiful children. “The gift of sight has motivated me to become the best I am capable of becoming in every aspect of life, and for that gift I will be forever grateful.”

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95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 56% are registered.
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*NEW* Flip & Darla, donor and donor mom

Stories of Hope

See how organ, eye and tissue donation has healed lives.

Flip & Darla, donor and donor mom

Darla’s son Flip was always the life of the party. His heart was genuine, and he could find good in everyone. Growing up, Flip would often bring home stray animals as well as friends that were having a rough time. He loved to travel the world; and his favorite place was Costa Rica, where he could surf and relax. Having served in the Army and then working for a company that moved him frequently, Flip had a knack for making new friends everywhere he went.

In 1991, a guest speaker was invited to Darla’s Rotary Club to discuss the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. After sharing the speaker’s story with Flip, they both decided to register as donors.

Flip’s desire to be a donor was realized when he passed away twenty years later. “In our darkest hour, it was hard to make decisions. Our family found great comfort in knowing our son’s decision and that he made a difference in the lives of others,” Darla said.

Flip’s selfless gift of tissue donation benefited at least twenty people, giving them the opportunity to lead more productive lives after transplantation. One female recipient was given the gift of sight. “Knowing that Flip loved to travel and see the world, it brought us a sense of peace that she would experience life through his eyes.”

Registration takes less than a minute.

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95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 56% are registered.
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*NEW* Peyton, heart recipient

Stories of Hope

See how organ, eye and tissue donation has healed lives.

Peyton, heart recipient

Peyton was a healthy, vibrant three-year-old until a cold virus attacked her heart. The damage from the virus was so severe that a heart transplant was needed for her to survive.

Peyton was hospitalized for months while a machine kept her heart pumping until a matching heart was donated. Further complicating matters, Peyton suffered two massive strokes because of the blood thinners she was required to take. She lost all mobile abilities, and the doctors gave her parents the devastating news that they did not think that Peyton would make it.

With a lot of prayers and therapy, Peyton started showing signs of brain recovery and was doing more than the doctors expected. Peyton’s miraculous improvement meant that she was still a candidate for a heart transplant. After five months of waiting, she received a donor heart from a seven-year-old girl.

“We were thankful to God that Peyton received the heart,” says her mother, Ashlyn, “but we were grieving for the parents who lost their child. It was so hard to be excited. We were almost in their position, but because of their generosity to donate their child’s organs, Peyton was given another opportunity at life.”

Her new heart meant that Peyton was able to receive the intense therapy that she needed. Today, she continues to make great strides in her recovery and is regaining the abilities that she had lost because of her strokes. Peyton is walking, talking, jumping, climbing, dancing, smiling and feeding herself. She is a happy child again.

“Not only did our donor give Peyton a heart, but her kidneys and liver also went to other individuals in need,” Ashlyn says. “She saved multiple lives through organ donation. We love our donor angel and her beautiful family.”

Registration takes less than a minute.

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95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 56% are registered.
Help bridge the gap by sharing.