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 weeks.

Nine years later, the chronic pain in my neck as well as the numbness in my arms and legs meant another surgery was inevitable. My doctor told me that if I did not have these fusions, I would not be able to be as active, and if it progressed quickly, I may not even be able to walk. He also told me that he would use donated bone for my next two operations, which were both in 2011. I am so grateful that he was able to use donated tissues. Because of this, I experienced much less pain from the surgery and my recovery time was nearly cut in half.

My wife, who works for LifeCenter, later explained to me about the donated tissue that I had received. A family who lost a loved one had made the decision to give the gift of life. I will never know the people who gave those amazing gifts, but I hope all donors and donor families realize how much they are appreciated.

Although I will never be completely pain free, I am free to do the things I love. I fish on a regular basis, and I am very involved in my eight year-old daughter Sydney’s activities. I even plan to coach her softball team this spring, and I’m so excited to have that special time with her. There are no words that can describe how grateful I am for this gift.

Tony Steimle, Tissue Recipient