One of the best quotes of organ donation I have come across recently is ‘Recycle organs, not just coke cans’. How apt this is in a world where everything is being recycled. Why not your organs then? Technically, organ donation means donating your tissues or organs to people who need a transplant. Or, it is giving a life to another person through your organs. By agreeing to organ donation, you may be saving more than one life. But, make sure that you are medically fit for this humanitarian act. There are many interesting stories of people who have donated and received organs. Read on and get inspired.
Stories of organ donation:
1. A wish fulfilled
It was a sunny afternoon and Katie Maiellano was driving her car, music at its loudest. It happened suddenly and all went black in her head. She was hit by a speeding bus. Before she could make out what was happening, she became unconscious. Katie was immediately taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. Seriously injured, she was admitted to the intensive care unit.
Her family rushed to the hospital as soon as they got the news. They were told that Katie was brain dead and there was little the doctors could do. It was hard for them to accept. But that was the destiny.
Katie’s mother Linda remembered her daughter’s wish of donating her organs. She discussed it with the medical team and arrangements were made immediately. It was decided to donate her kidney, liver and pancreas to people who needed them. One kidney was transplanted to a 13 year old girl and the liver to a man living in New York.
Katie’s pancreas was given to Grigory Kraus who was struggling with diabetes for nearly 20 years. He also had vision problem and other discomforts which accompanied diabetes. Getting Katie’s pancreas was a boon to his family and their joy knew no bounds. Grigory recalls the gratitude he felt for Katie’s family.
Grigory met with Katie’s mother and father on her fifth death anniversary and thanked them for changing his life. They were happy that Katie’s memories live through all of them who received her organs.
Katie was a very busy person in life, handling 2-3 jobs at a time. She wished to work for charity once she had earned enough money. To fulfill her wish, her parents started an organization to financially support transplantations. They hope that their daughter will be happily watching them do this for her.
2. The Life of a Butterfly
Heather Semans, the younger daughter of Mike and Jan, literally lived the life of a butterfly until one day she was admitted to hospital. It was a case of diabetes complication which led the brain to stop functioning. Her parents and her brother, Scott, were devastated hearing the bad news.
Heather was diagnosed with diabetes as early as an infant and had a tough life. She had trouble learning the life skills. Though she struggled with every day activities, she tried to be as independent as possible.
When her family was grieving over their loss, they were told that someone from an organ donation organization wanted to talk to them. Donating Heather’s organs were not even in their wildest dreams. But, they decided to have a meeting. It was Jan who was patient enough to listen to what was being explained.
Judy, the representative, explained the importance of organ donation and the possibility that Heather could be a donor. Listening to her patiently, the Semans were convinced that they should help save a life through their daughter. Tests were done on Heather and her liver was found to be fit for donation.
It was a Sunday morning and finally they bid good-bye to their loved one after a successful liver transplantation. Mike recalls, “We thought that if our daughter could not live longer, let her help someone do that”. The respect they got afterwards is worth mentioning. A ‘Donate Life’ flag was flying in the hospital compound appreciating their effort for this huge step.
A memorial service was organized in the church where her family spoke about the legacy Heather has. She would always be remembered for donating a life. Thereafter, her parents decided to be members of an organization that promoted organ donation.
On returning home, they organized a talk on the importance of donating organs and how one can be a life saver. Out of the 100 who attended it, almost half signed their willingness to donate their organs. How wonderful a moment that was for Heather’s family!
Heather’s death was an eye opener to her loved ones. They now take care of people who are suffering with illness and help them connect with suitable donors.
3. Thank you Donors
Mary Wu was very cheerful as a child. She was the pet of her parents and a bestie to her siblings. But, tragedy happened to her at the age of three in the form of chronic kidney failure. Her parents were helpless, their loving child bed ridden. She was recommended dialysis and got admitted to the hospital every other day.
Her tiny body had to undergo many procedures and tests. A kidney transplant was the only option left. But, the doctors could not find a match in her family members. So, they waited.
Finally, at the age of six, she got a matching kidney and the transplantation took place successfully. Her parents regained the lost vigor through their recovering child. Life was again a gala for little Mary who danced to her heart’s content. She was happy that she could now go to school, eat what she wanted and spent a lot of time with family. But, this happiness did not last long.
The new kidney failed when Mary was 12. This time she didn’t have to wait long for a matching kidney. Transplantation took place within two months which felt like a miracle to her. She didn’t know how to thank both her donors. This was when she vowed to help others and live a happy life herself.
Since then, Mary has been an active member in an organ transplant organization. She writes about organ donations and encourages more people to be donors. She gives counselling to the organ receivers and be a part of their joy.
Mary says, “All thanks to my organ donors whom I have never met. I express my gratitude to them every day and keep them in my prayers. The bond I share with them through my kidneys is unbreakable.”
She feels that it is the health issues she faced as a child that made her a strong person in life. She now appreciates the gem called life more than anything. She helps the people around her realize that life is not to complain, but to live to the fullest.
Related: Organ Donation Benefits
4. Legacy of saving Lives
It is a big thing to be a life saver both in life and after death. Zac Sweitzer was one such person who loved helping people. This is the reason he worked as a volunteer firefighter not missing any opportunity to save people’s lives. But a tragedy hit him at the age of 20.
Zac was coming home for Thanksgiving 2008, very happy to meet his parents. He hadn’t met both of them for some time now and was looking forward to spend quality time with them. But, everything happened suddenly. His car was hit by a truck driven by a minor.
Zac was taken to hospital and his parents rushed to his side on the reception of the news. They were told that he needed a surgery in brain to ease the swelling. They prayed hard for their son’s life. But, the surgery was not successful and Zac was declared brain dead. His parents’ lives turned upside down with the horrible news of their loss.
Zac was passionate about farming and he was an athlete too. He was a go-to person for all his dear ones. He would go to any extent to help others. He wanted to help people even after death. Keeping this in mind, he had registered for organ and tissue donation.
Arrangements for the same were made in the hospital. Representatives from the transplant organization met with his parents and discussed about how his wish can be fulfilled. Missy feels proud to say that her son could save six lives and be a model for the society even after his death.
Zac’s parents now work day and night to promote organ donation and give talks on it. This is the way they find peace in their lives after their son’s tragic death. When Zac’s friend was also killed by a similar accident, Missy and her husband organized a blood donation drive in the memory of two people who tirelessly worked for others’ happiness.
Missy says, “When I think about my son, I feel that he must be happy somewhere and thanking his parents for continuing what he did in life, saving lives”.