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Top 5 Stories of 2015
Click "Learn More" to recap the five most-read stories from Gift of Life Donor Program in 2015.
IndyCar Driver, Justin Wilson, was tragically killed during a race on Sunday, August 23. Justin made the courageous decision to be an organ donor with the indication on his drivers license. His family has been supportive of his decision and has helped to raise more awareness for organ and tissue donation. Justin Wilson gave the gift of life by donating 6 organs for transplant.
“I always have my phone with me just in case I get that call that there is a kidney for me. Every night, I go to bed and think tonight I may get that call and my life may be changed forever. I’m excited for it, but cautious because there are so many factors that affect it happening. I try to take one day at a time and stay optimistic.” Mike said. “Being an organ donor can save someone’s life in an instant. It’s such a powerful thing to be a donor. Everyone has their life story, and when a person’s life ends it’s amazing to me how they can live on and pass on their lives. By being an organ donor, a person can save so many lives – including mine.”
“Zac was an athlete, a volunteer firefighter and a passionate farmer.” said his mother, Missy. “He was the type of person who people loved and was constantly on the go.” Gift of Life Donor Program approached the Sweitzer family at the hospital to discuss Zac’s wishes. His parents had spoken with Zac about his choice to register as an organ and tissue donor. “We knew that Zac wanted to be a donor. His whole life, he always wanted to help people. It made sense that even during such a horrible loss – he was still helping others.”
Zac was able to save the lives of six people through being an organ donor. Today, the Sweitzer family is an enthusiastic advocate for organ and tissue donation. They speak about their experience openly and discuss how Zac’s legacy of generosity is the one silver lining in a terrible tragedy.
Douglassville, PA native, Jacob Hafer, was born on Valentine’s Day with a “broken heart.” Jacob was just an infant when he was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a rare heart defect that resulted in him needing a transplant. He was listed on the organ transplant waitlist after being diagnosed, and his parents waited nervously for a heart to become available.
“I think if everyone really knew how sick people on the waitlist are, they would register,” Jacob said. “Healthy people don’t realize that individuals on the waitlist just want to be healthy and be able to fully live the lives that they deserve. I’m going to do all that I can to show people that transplantation works and that they have the power to register and save lives – just like my donor did for me.”
“Today, we are able to move forward and smile, knowing that Austin is still here helping others,” said Debra. “His two recipients can now see the world because of him. I always say ‘What can you do for someone else and how can you pay your blessings forward?’” Austin lived by his mother’s example and paid his blessings forward by saying ‘yes’ to organ and tissue donation.
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