Hope and Inspiration

 

 

Donerik Black, LIVING KIDNEY DONOR & HEART RECIPIENT

LifeCenter-stories-mobile

Donerik Black,
LIVING KIDNEY DONOR & HEART RECIPIENT

Hope and Inspiration

2018

Terri Flamm, Tissue Recipient

My name is Terri Flamm, and I am a tissue recipient. As a Physical Education teacher at New Richmond High School (also my alma mater) and as a lifelong athlete, my mobility is everything to me. I was a three sport athlete in high school, playing soccer, basketball and track.  I even went on to play fast…

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Dr. Bruce Ashley, Cornea Donor

My husband, Dr. Bruce Ashley, was the love of my life. I was so blessed to have him as my best friend and husband for 37 years. He lived life to the fullest as an adventurer and a dreamer. As an emergency room physician, he worked many hours but he always made time for his…

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Reese Brady Ryan, Heart Recipient

April 23, 2016 marked the 24th day for us in the hospital. I was in the bathroom giving myself a pep talk and when I came out, Dr. Villa was standing in the doorway with a box of tissues. I assumed something was terribly wrong. He sat down, and with a tear in his eye…

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Ryan Nalley, Tissue Donor

The worst day of our lives happened on April 29, 2014. The night we received a knock on the door at 3:30 am, telling us to go to the hospital. There had been an accident and our son, Ryan, was being resuscitated. Every parent’s worst nightmare was happening to us. Ryan had overdosed on heroin…

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Missy Brunner, Kidney Recipient

In 2009 I was a single mom of four, working as an LPN. I was taking a shower and passed out. I saw my doctor to see if we could figure out what was going on. The next day I while taking my kids to school, my doctor called and insisted I go to the…

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Idris Gray, Kidney Recipient

At the age of 16, I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. While in college I lost 50 lbs. and mistakenly thought I no longer needed to manage my condition. I was wrong. As a result, in 2009 I was diagnosed with acute kidney failure. My doctors told me that if I didn’t receive a…

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Donald Melillo, Liver Recipient

In February 2012, I heard the three words that nobody ever wants to hear… “You have cancer”. I was diagnosed with liver cancer and was told the only treatment option was a transplant. You go through every range of emotion, sadness, anger, and confusion. As the days passed, I became sicker and spent my time…

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Christopher Louis Jones, Jr., Donor for Research

Our first and only child, Christopher Louis Jones, Jr., (“Junior”) passed away in my arms at 10 days of age on July 31, 2015. Leading up to that day, doctors told us that due to his various medical issues, we would have to make some very difficult decisions about his life. We made the most…

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Danette Jones, From Waiting to Receiving a Kidney Transplant

I found out that the life I knew would forever change in June of 2015. My kidney failure caused me to need dialysis. Needless to say, I was devastated. I cried a lot, and prayed more. Only the power of God would be able to bring me through this journey. Nine surgeries later I smile…

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Lisa Connelly, Organ Donor

It is such an honor to be Lisa’s mother and I couldn’t be more proud of the person she grew up to be. At 37 years old, Lisa was an adored daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin, aunt, girlfriend, and mommy to her 3 year old son, Levi. He was the absolute love of her life…

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2017

Dr. Anant Bhati, Organ Donor

As an obstetrician/gynecologist in Cincinnati for over 40 years, our dad devoted his entire life to shepherding new life into this world. He was beloved by his patients; even 4 years after his passing, we received letters from strangers telling us stories about how he helped them at a time of profound difficulty. Our dad…

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Bethany Clack, Double Lung Recipient

In October 2013, Bethany visited her doctor for her yearly school check-up. With severely high blood pressure, Bethany was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension. Up until then, she was a girl who loved life and was always smiling. She never enjoyed sports or physical education in school, but we assumed she was being a “typical teen”.…

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Shelby Jones LaPine, Mother of Luke LaPine, Organ Donor and Bill Repp, Luke’s Heart Recipient

My son Luke graduated from East Clinton High School in 2014, shortly after he was hired for the Clinton County Highway Department. On a normal routine day while at work, he fell out of the back of the truck and sustained a severe head injury. In need of immediate medical attention, Luke was fl own…

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Mollie Pegram, Double Lung Recipient

It all started with a cough. A little dry hack now and then quickly turned into a major coughing fit with any activity at all. As an RN, I knew something was seriously wrong. It continued to worsen and after months of coughing and wheezing, I ended up in the ER because I was having…

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Connie Towles, Cornea Donor

On Tuesday, May 29, 2012, my Connie closed her eyes, took her last breath, and drifted o¬ff to perpetual peacefulness. After 27 months of chemotherapy, doctor visits, CT scans, biopsies, radiation, surgeries, emergency room visits, and pain medication, it had come to this. It was only after I whispered to her that the girls were…

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Chamoda Kennedy-Palmore, Tissue & Cornea Donor

Growing up Chamoda was a kind, loving and considerate young man who’s smile could light up a room. Around the age of 5, he started playing football and there was no stopping him. He was a natural. He played running back for his high school, Lakota East, until graduating in 2013. He truly shined on…

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David Waits, Heart Recipient

On December 14, 2014, I su­ffered a massive heart attack at my home. In an e­ ort to save my life, I had a quadruple bypass surgery. In critical condition and with a survival rate expectancy of 0-1%, it didn’t look good. Completely unaware of what was going on, I was transferred to University of…

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Lori Baker, Tissue Recipient

My love of softball began when I was young and remained through adulthood, where I continued to play until a devastating knee injury took me out of the game. During that fateful game, as I slid into home base, I felt a sharp pain in my right knee and immediately knew something was wrong. When…

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Julian H. Renfro, Heart Recipient

My family’s business, Renfro Funeral Services, has given me a lot perspective throughout my life. For years I’ve worked with grieving families who’ve been able to donate organs and tissue after the passing of a loved one. Little did I know that I would soon see this from a very different perspective. In 2008, I…

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Hillary & Beatrice Weidner, Living Liver Donor & Liver Recipient

In March of 2015, our lives changed forever. Our first baby, Beatrice Kelly Weidner, was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a rare liver disease at just 2-months-old. We quickly found out that the only cure for her was going to be a liver transplant. A liver transplant for our baby? Nothing could have ever prepared us…

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2016

Achberger, Froehle, Hood Family

Kidney disease, sadly, is something that happens all too often and in my particular case, it affected me, my mother and my two sisters. Four in one family is rare but indicative of how invasive polycystic kidney disease can be. First my mom, Therese Froehle, went into renal failure. She received a transplant in April…

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Connie Lawson, Cornea Recipient

As a clerk at a local license bureau, I ask the question on a daily basis, “Would you like to register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor?”  I never thought that one day someone who said yes to that question would be changing my life in such a profound way. In 2013, I contracted…

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Billy Wolf, Tissue & Cornea Donor

On an early December morning in 2013, we received the tragic news that my brother Billy was dead.  In this moment of absolute despair, we learned that he was a registered organ donor and quickly made phone calls confirming permission for donation. By that afternoon, Billy’s selfless donation had deeply impacted the lives of over…

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Perry Hall, Kidney Recipient

I have suffered from kidney issues for most of my life. It started with a kidney infection when I was 17-months-old and had to spend several months at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center on dialysis. After five major surgeries, my failing kidney came back to 85% function. My parents were told I would most likely…

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Nick Pollino, Organ, Tissue & Cornea Donor

In November 2013, my son, Nick, and I were traveling back to Cincinnati after spending Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh with his father’s family. It was the first time either of us had spent the holiday out of town in quite a while, and we both talked about how much we missed being at home and enjoying…

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Transplant Surgeons of UC Health and Their Patients

The life of a person waiting for an organ transplant is filled with a lot of questions, fear and uncertainty. What if I never get the call? What will life be like post-transplant? How will this affect my family? How long will I wait? It can be a difficult and dark time in a person’s…

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Symia and Lamyh Wilson, Liver Recipients

I’ve been a registered organ and tissue donor since I got my driver’s license. I never thought I would be in a position where my child would be in need of such a thing as a transplant, much less that two of my children would be affected in this way. Only two months after the…

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Donerik Black, Heart Recipient & Living Kidney Donor

I will never forget the night that my nurses and doctor walked into my hospital room and told me they found the heart I so desperately needed.  I spent 49 days in ICU dreaming of that moment, but there was no way to prepare for such overwhelming and life-saving news. The emotions that you go…

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Blake Adkins, Organ, Tissue, & Cornea Donor

My son, Blake, was a bright light for our family, his son and to everyone he encountered. He was sensitive and creative, sharing his gifts through his music, writing, and leadership abilities. Few people knew of the selfless and brave choice he made upon receiving his driver’s license to register as an organ and tissue…

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Mark Meyer, Liver Recipient

Every Thursday night for the last few years, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to play softball, a game I have always loved, with some of my best friends. It may not be in the field with the Cincinnati Reds like I dreamed as a kid, but I still smile at the fact…

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2015

Taylor Dumas, Tissue Donor

February 11th, 2011, I will forever remember as the day I lost my little brother, Taylor. The morning of Taylor’s death I didn’t say good bye. That afternoon, he went to play basketball at a local recreation center. Soon after, my mom told me that Taylor had passed out while playing basketball.  A few hours…

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Lindsey Sendelbach, Tissue Donor

July 13, 2005 will forever be a day of both joy and loss. On this day, we celebrate our granddaughter’s birthday, while mourning the death of our youngest daughter, Lindsey, who was taken in a car accident. As you can imagine, this date has been a bittersweet moment for all of us, as we try…

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Keegan Southers, Awaited a Heart Transplan

The moment that our son, Keegan was born he illuminated such a strong spirit. He was like any other little boy who loved his family, enjoyed playing with his twin brother Wyatt and his big sister, Fiona. While his medical issues did not define who he was as a person, they undoubtedly had an effect…

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Landon Steele, Tissue Donor

Landon lived a very positive and simplistic life.  He didn’t sweat the small stuff. It was very difficult to be in a bad mood in his presence.  Landon’s great sense of humor, and contagious smile were very difficult to resist. He always greeted you with a firm handshake or heart felt hug. He played an integral part in helping our family maintain its…

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Allison Kesse & Sarah Kesse, Kidney Recipient & Living Kidney Donor

I received one of the greatest gifts possible, a donated kidney, from my sister Sarah on July 2, 2013. My sister as my donor and myself as the recipient had to wrap our heads around everything that was going to happen in this process.  The journey to get my donated kidney was a long one…

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Tiana Bane, Cornea Transplant Recipient

In June of 2013, my daughter Tiana got a scratch on her eye. This seemingly small scratch led to an infection that started deteriorating her corneal tissue quickly. From our trip to the emergency room, the hospital immediately admitted her for treatment. She began receiving drops every hour around the clock for what would turn…

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Daivon Jones, Kidney Recipient

My son, Daivon, was diagnosed with renal dysplasia at the age of 7. After years of doctor’s visits, surgeries and much pain, we found out when he was only 14 years old that he would eventually need a kidney transplant. I will forever remember this moment because it was right before Mother’s Day, and as…

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Trinity Lazo, Heart Transplant Recipient

From the moment Trinity arrived in this world, she could effortlessly melt anyone’s heart. Born with a fighter spirit, Trinity has overcome many obstacles. The week of her third birthday would be Trinity’s last weekend at our home in North Carolina. What started as a great week with a healthy child suddenly turned near-fatal as…

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Sally Monahan, Tissue Donor

As a family, we have discussed organ and tissue donation a number of times over the years.  Everyone in our family is a registered donor via our driver’s license. Little did we expect that one day this choice would touch us all so personally. My wife Sally was known to all as a giving person. …

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Douglas Stephens, Liver Transplant Recipient

On my desk I have a sign that says, “There are two ways to live life….one as though nothing is a miracle, and the other as though everything is!” Not always in the middle of situations am I able to see life as miraculous, but upon reflection there is no doubt. The transplant process has…

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2014

Asia Werner, Heart Transplant Recipient

Born on December 22nd, 1999 nine weeks premature with multiple heart defects, Asia spent nearly half of her first year in the hospital undergoing multiple surgeries. She was listed for a heart transplant at nine months and by her first birthday her life expectancy was being measured in hours. On the evening of her birthday…

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Dolores “Dee” Remington, Liver Transplant Recipient

In 2011, I was placed on the liver transplant waiting list after being diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver caused by Hepatitis-C. As the Hepatitis-C and cirrhosis progressed, a malignant liver tumor began to develop. Needless to say, my change in status increased the urgency of a transplant considerably. My health was rapidly declining, while…

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Jaydon Green, Liver Transplant Recipient

When Jaydon was just a few weeks old, I noticed he was sick. They took a blood sample, ran some tests and came back with news I would have never expected. Jaydon was very sick and without a liver transplant, he would die. Where we lived in Jamaica, a liver transplant for someone as young…

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Jenny Hudson, Living Kidney Donor & Thomas C. Hendrix Jr., Kidney Transplant Recipient

I met Tom on Nov. 19, 2010 and we’ve become the best of friends ever since. My kidney, however, was introduced to him August, 31, 2010. In 1995, Thomas C. Hendrix, Jr., father of three, grandfather of nine, received his first of three kidney transplants. Over the next few years and through multiple surgeries, Tom…

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Sean P. Tierney, Heart Transplant Recipient

In 2006, after 31 years of health and happiness, my heart began a rapid, inexplicable decline.  Doctors were baffled as to the cause.  However, they were certain that the only thing that would prolong my life would be a heart transplant.  I was sent to the Cleveland Clinic where I had to stay until I…

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Samantha Boling, Awaiting a Double Lung Transplant

My name is Samantha Boling. I’m 23 years-old and I’ve been waiting for a life saving double lung transplant since January, 2011. Being told I needed this transplant is still to this day one of the scariest moments of mine and my family’s lives. This event has completely changed me as a person. I’m lucky…

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Morgan Hughes, Cornea Transplant Recipient

Morgan received her first cornea transplant when she was just 11 months old in December, 2002 and the second transplant to correct the other eye when she was 13 months old the following February. Prior to Morgan’s transplants, she had not seen anything including her family. After her surgeries the surgeon took the bandages off…

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Ril M. Beatty III, Liver Transplant Recipient

In May of 2010, I was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, a rare disease that scars the liver, reduces the body’s ability to absorb vitamins, and often results in liver failure.  As my health declined, I no longer had the energy to enjoy even the simplest things in life like playing at the park with my daughter or walking through a store. In…

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Bryce and Cameron Jeff, Organ and Tissue Donors

On June 10, 2011 and June 11, 2011, our family experienced the loss of Bryce and Cameron Jeff, respectively. Brothers, Bryce at 8 years old, and Cameron, at 10 years old, died as a result of a drowning incident. Both boys were energetic, happy, and genuinely fun children! They enjoyed being outdoors, playing basketball and…

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Bobby Tinnell, Liver Transplant Recipient and Tissue Donor

After Bobby Tinnell was born, the mold was broken!  I have never ever met such a wonderful, loving, caring, patient, genuine man in my entire life. Bobby was a hard worker his entire life and was never sick until the year 2000.  He suddenly became ill and was told he had Primary Schlerosing Cholangitis and…

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2013

Tom Maret, Organ and Tissue Donor

Tom was a wonderful person who always made you smile. He loved to write poetry, and we are so thankful he left us with books full of his writings. He also loved music and to be outdoors. Tom was so very much loved by his family, because he had such a big heart and a…

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Zion and Zhania Coleman, Heart Transplant Recipients

We want to first say thank you to the donors and donor families who saved my children’s lives. In the past year, both my son Zion and my daughter Zhania have received heart transplants that saved their lives. In each case, we found out that a heart was available for them just in time. Experiencing…

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Brenda Shuey, Organ and Tissue Donor

Brenda was just 38 years old when she left us suddenly and very unexpectedly. Two months prior, she left instructions as to what she wanted if she were to leave this life. We believed this would be something many years away, but we were wrong. She had just gone back to school at Thomas More…

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Tiffani Brians, Organ and Tissue Donor

Dear Tiffani, At the young age of 21 months old you were cursed with diabetes, and you were challenged your entire life with a disease you just couldn’t get a handle on, no matter how you tried and how many times we visited the hospitals and doctors looking for answers. Through the years, somehow you…

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Andy Hall, Kidney Transplant Recipient

I was born on the 4th of July in 1997. When I was 14 months old, I had bacterial meningitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). As a result of the meningitis I lost my hearing, and the HUS damaged my kidneys. After being on dialysis at home for months, my kidney function improved. I also…

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John Callahan, Kidney Transplant Recipient

I was one of the very fortunate ones who spent a very short five months on dialysis before receiving the gift of life through a kidney transplant. Each trip to the dialysis center was a constant reminder of what my future held, as I sat with others who were much sicker than I was.  I…

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Jonathan Voorhees, Liver Transplant Recipient

Jonathan Robert Voorhees is a fun loving, spirited three year-old little boy who has been through many challenges in his short life. At only eight weeks old, Jonathan was diagnosed with a rare liver disease called biliary atresia. Despite a major surgery to try and save his liver, Jonathan’s health began to deteriorate quickly, and…

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Kevin Lee, Organ Donor

I can still remember the conversation when my second son, Kevin, got his temporary driver’s permit.  He asked what my feelings were about him becoming an organ donor. It was the first time that the subject had ever come up, and I did not want to talk about it. Kevin persisted, saying that he needed…

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Bob Briggs, Liver Transplant Recipient

I am thankful for so many people— My donor family, Dr. Douglas Hanto, the University Hospital transplant team and LifeCenter—for the gift of life I received January 24, 1998. At the time of my liver transplant, I was 50 years-old and my wife Nancy was 44, and it gave us more precious time together along…

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Tony Steimle, Tissue Recipient

At the age of 25, I experienced my first herniated disc along with the first of four surgeries on my vertebrae. For my first two surgeries in 1991 and 2001, the doctors removed a piece of bone from my hip to fuse the vertebrae. These procedures were extremely painful, and the recovery time was several…

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2012

Jovante Woods, Organ and Tissue Donor

On August 14, 2010, we lost our son Jovante. That loss inspired us to become champions for asthma education in our community and to raise awareness of the importance of organ and tissue donation. While one in 10 Americans suffers from asthma, we were not aware of how dangerous the condition could be. The mortality…

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David L. Brantley II, Organ Donor

Although born with cerebral palsy, our son David defied the odds and became a remarkable son, brother, friend, and community member. You might say that David never considered any task too big to accomplish. He believed in himself and lived life to the fullest. David loved to attend summer camp at Stepping Stones and Cincinnati…

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Max Livingston, Kidney Transplant Recipient

To be honest, I had never been totally convinced to register as an organ and tissue donor. Then, having a child that needed a kidney transplant, I took that step and became a registered donor. What an honor to be able to save someone else’s life. To know that I saved my son’s life by…

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Loretta Davis, Liver Transplant Recipient

On April 9, 2009, I became very ill. Not knowing what was wrong, I went to the doctor and received news that I was very sick. My family was told that 90 percent of my liver was damaged and that I had two days to live. While still in the hospital a month later, a…

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Ellie Sand, Organ Donor

“There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.” Ellie’s greatest gift was giving. She gave of her time, talents, and treasures whenever she could. On October 27, 2007, Ellie was once again able to give through organ and tissue donation. We, her parents, made the decision to say “yes” to donation, knowing without a…

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Keith Glassmeyer, Organ Donor

On Tuesday, October 5, 2010, my husband Keith died doing what he loved – operating his backhoe, digging out the pond. Keith enjoyed physical activity, working with his hands and getting the job done.  There was no need to call any repairman, landscaper, mechanic, plumber, electrician, or carpenter because Keith could do it. He was…

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Mya Lacey Kendrick, Heart Transplant Recipient

On May 25, 2010, our daughter Mya received the greatest gift of all—the gift of a new heart.  Prior to Mya’s struggles, we had never given much thought to organ and tissue donation. Sure, we said “yes” when obtaining a driver’s license, but we never imagined that donation would directly affect our family.  That changed…

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Milosh Kalapasev, Heart Transplant Recipient

Our son Milosh was born with a rare genetic disorder called Barth Syndrome, a metabolic condition that causes cardiomyopathy, neutropenia, muscle weakness, and delayed growth. Though Milosh suffered from heart failure at birth and was added to the heart transplant list, within a couple of months his heart function improved enough to move him to…

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David Douglas, Tissue Donor

My journey with LifeCenter began in 1995 when I was employed at NAPA Auto Parts. My co-worker, Jerry Dailey, received a kidney in 1975 and always expressed his gratitude to the donor who extended his life. After Jerry’s passing, I became a volunteer for LifeCenter. Donation was something I talked about with my children. My…

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Barbara Workman, Tissue Donor

My mother’s name was Barbara Workman, and Mom was the center of our entire family. She was the one to organize family get-togethers with our aunts, uncles, and cousins, and she was the one who never had a bad thing to say to or about anyone. Everyone adored my mom. She was a very sick…

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2011

Patricia Patterson, Tissue Donor

As the family of Patricia (Patty), we would like to thank God for this day of celebrating   LIFE. Patty was a person that loved life to the fullest, and she was always the life of the party. She loved people so much that she made the choice to give life after death, and what a…

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Michael Pence, Organ Donor

In May of 2010 we suddenly lost Michael, a wonderful husband and father, at the age of 42. While my children and I still feel he is gone from us far too soon, the decision regarding organ and tissue donation was an easy one for us, and we knew it was something he wanted. Mike…

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Chris Henry, Organ Donor

My son Chris designated himself to be an organ and tissue donor because he was selfless in nature and always wanted to help people however he could. He believed donation was the right thing to do. As his mother, I supported his decision because I wanted to make sure his wish to help others was…

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Crosby Fugate, Liver Transplant Recipient

During the summer of 2005, after multiple hospitalizations, I was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC), a chronic liver disease that slowly scars the liver until it can no longer function properly. My family was told that I would eventually need a liver transplant. That time came on December 4, 2009, when I was listed…

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Kelly Williams, Living Kidney Donor

While working with Kaleb’s mother I found out that he was experiencing kidney failure and needed to have a kidney transplant. I made the decision to donate one of my kidneys to Kaleb to restore his health and give him a second chance at life. After a successful transplant, I realized Kaleb didn’t just receive…

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Kyle Weisenberger, Organ Donor

I’ll always remember the excitement Kyle had for becoming an organ and tissue donor. It was a decision he made completely on his own. He had asked me to consider signing my license and didn’t leave me alone until I honored his request, but little did we know that years later donation would be a…

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Amy Pannell, Liver Transplant Recipient

At the age of 24, I was diagnosed with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC).  PBC is an autoimmune disease that causes irritation and inflammation of the bile ducts, which over time can block the flow of bile from the liver.   By age 47, the obstruction had become so severe that I was experiencing jaundice, the classic…

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Monica Achberger, Cornea Transplant Recipient

John and I were only dating about a month before I ended up in the hospital. I was 23 years-old at the time, and the prognosis was not good. Doctors removed my one infected kidney and informed me the other kidney was diseased and infected. John came to visit me, bringing a rose, each and…

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Glen Moore, Heart Transplant Recipient

In February of 2000 I went to the doctor for my yearly check up, and the doctor found that I had a plugged artery and would have to have a stent put in. I went to rehab and felt great, but early the next year I was having some chest pains and went back to…

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Peyton Sherrell, Heart Transplant Recipient

Peyton had not felt well for several days in July 2009, and I just had the feeling that something was wrong. I took her to the emergency room where they did tests and diagnosed her with pneumonia. The next day she was still not feeling well, so her grandmother and I rushed her to Cincinnati…

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