Giving Life a Second Chance
Through Organ & Tissue Donation

"Threads of Love" Donor Memorial Quilt: Quilt 17

Mary Lou Donahue

This quilt square is in memory of Mary Lou Donahue who was an organ and tissue donor twice in her life. Mary Lou was born in Lippincott, Pennsylvania and spent her childhood through young adulthood in Western PA. When she met her future husband, Wesley, she married and moved to South Jersey. She raised her four children in the Merchantville/Pennsauken area and spent summers in Wildwood, NJ. Mary Lou was a wonderful woman, strong mother, and outstanding cook. She loved her family immensely, especially her sister Sara. In 1986 Sara was in desperate need of a kidney transplant. Without second thought, Mary Lou offered to donate one of hers. The operation was a success, and Sara continued to live a full, happy life for almost 20 years.

While Mary Lou loved her children and husband, her grandchildren were the light of her life. In 1998, at the age of 11, her grandson, Jeffrey was involved in a tragic household accident and would never recover, due to Mary Lou’s experience with her sister Sara, Jeffrey’s parents decided that he should be an organ donor, to give others a chance to experience the same joy he had given to our family.

Mary Lou was a valiant supporter of organ donation, always telling us that she wanted to donate again, upon her death, “if there’s anything that’s still useful.” When my Nana, Mary Lou was out to dinner celebrating her 56th wedding anniversary in June of 2007, she suddenly experienced a massive brain hemorrhage and would never recover. In a final act of love and as she had trained our family to do, we all agreed wholeheartedly that she was an organ donor, and would want to donate anything she had to help another to have life. She was able to accomplish her mission as an organ donor both in life and in death. She was and is an example of selfless sacrifice, but more importantly how the gift of life ripples through each of us. Through her gift, the ripples of love and family continue through eternity.

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