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Personal Stories

The opportunity of the gift of life through organ donation has a lasting impact on recipients, recipient families, donors and donor families. Find out how these families persevered during their personal donation journey through their own perspectives.

Cherry Hill, NJ Resident Reaches 200,000 Students with Life-Saving Message
Cherry Hill, NJ Resident Reaches 200,000 Students with Life-Saving Message

Twenty-nine years ago, Tom and Vivian Gano’s lives were changed forever. Their teenage son, Curtis, 16, was riding his bike to a friend’s house when he was struck by a van. When doctors confirmed that Curtis was brain dead, Vivian looked beyond her pain and asked about the potential for him to be an organ donor. The family had watched a documentary about organ and tissue donation several years earlier, which inspired her to ask.

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Flores Family Shows Generosity Through Donation
Flores Family Shows Generosity Through Donation

Easton, PA native, Austin Flores, knew how to make others laugh. His witty and likable personality drew people to him, and he was always surrounded by family and friends. Some people are just full of life and love – and Austin was one of them. He also believed in helping others, which is something that he was able to do in November, 2011.

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Glenside, PA Mother of Two Finds Comfort this Holiday in Husband’s Life-Saving Legacy
Glenside, PA Mother of Two Finds Comfort this Holiday in Husband’s Life-Saving Legacy

This Thanksgiving, many Pennsylvania families will break bread and celebrate all that they are thankful for. Thanksgiving is a special day to share with loved ones, express gratitude and indulge in an abundance of delicious food. Often, the holidays can be a bittersweet time for many who have lost loved ones. Jackie Kelble knows this feeling well. She lost her beloved husband, Dave, in 2012. The couple has two children together, Brooke, 7, and Tyler, 5.

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Milford, DE Mother Heals through Daughter’s Organ Donation
Milford, DE Mother Heals through Daughter’s Organ Donation

For firefighter and EMT, Laura Mallow, one of the hardest challenges she ever faced was not being able to save her 17-year-old daughter, Brittney Ford. In December 2014, Laura was at the fire station decorating fire trucks for Christmas when she heard a dispatcher announce an accident. A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle – and they gave Laura’s home address.

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His Name Means "Gift of Hope"
His Name Means "Gift of Hope"

Cynthia London named her son Sipho Thembla - a South African name meaning "gift of hope." Sipho was my gift, and he brought hope to six other people at his death. Sipho was an organ donor.

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25 years after organ transplant, still grateful for gift of life
25 years after organ transplant, still grateful for gift of life

Faith Carlin, - Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

If you asked me in the spring of 1992 if I thought I would be alive today, I would have told you no. I was 30 and had always expected to have a short life. All of that changed because of the selfless act of one young man I would never meet...

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High School Senior Returned to Soccer Field After Life-Saving Heart Transplant
High School Senior Returned to Soccer Field After Life-Saving Heart Transplant

“Not a day passes without wondering whose heart beats inside my chest.”

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Hudson: Waiting for The Gift of Life
Hudson: Waiting for The Gift of Life

This story was submitted by Hudson’s parents, Tori & Theodore DeMartini. - Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

We went into our 20 week ultrasound not expecting anything unusual. When the sonographer was spending a lot of time looking at the chest and we noticed a lot of black where the heart should be my wife asked the sonographer if something was wrong. She said, “Yes, it looks like hypoplastic left heart.” It took the remaining months of the pregnancy to grieve for the fact that our son Hudson would be born with half a heart and to prepare for what came after birth: open heart surgeries at 5 days, 4 months, and two years.

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Heart Transplant Recipient Gets Life Back After Receiving Gift of Life
Heart Transplant Recipient Gets Life Back After Receiving Gift of Life

Randolph Rahming has always been an athlete. His love of track and field dominated much of his life. Nearly every day, the Bahamas native ran three to five miles to stay healthy. Randolph, who currently lives in Philadelphia, saw many of his family members suffer from heart disease, and wanted to keep his heart as strong as possible, for as long as possible.

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High School Senior Celebrates 1st Christmas with the Ultimate Gift, a Life-Saving Kidney
High School Senior Celebrates 1st Christmas with the Ultimate Gift, a Life-Saving Kidney

Dallas, PA resident, Andrew Schukraft, was an active 16 year old when his life was changed forever. He played soccer and tennis from the time he was a child, and had just been named captain of his soccer team. He was always physically active and felt healthy, never thinking that he would be someone with health issues.

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Transplant Recipient Relied on Faith While Waiting for Kidney and Pancreas Transplants Forms Close B
Transplant Recipient Relied on Faith While Waiting for Kidney and Pancreas Transplants Forms Close B

At six years old, Philadelphia resident, Arlinda Griffin, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. She was put on insulin and was restricted from all the sweets that children often love – candy, cookies and sugar of any type. By the time she reached her late teens, she began suffering from seizures that doctors said were related to her diabetes.

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Local Transplant Recipient Grateful for Gift of Life and Motherhood
Local Transplant Recipient Grateful for Gift of Life and Motherhood

Diana Awad Joins Gift of Life Institute’s Transplant Pregnancy Registry International for 25thAnniversary Celebration

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Jorge Arroyo Gives Back after Receiving the Gift of Life
Jorge Arroyo Gives Back after Receiving the Gift of Life

South Philadelphia resident, Jorge Arroyo, was blessed with good health when he was young. He stayed active, playing basketball and baseball, and he was always up to have fun in his neighborhood. His family was plagued with diabetes, and Jorge spent his life diligently getting his blood work checked to make sure that he was healthy. He was fortunate and was the only member of his family who escaped the disease.

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Sofia & Stefani
Sofia & Stefani

Learn more about Family House guests, Sofia, double-lung transplant recipient, and her twin sister Stefani, still awaiting her life-saving transplant.

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iconRegister to Be a Donor

It’s easy to add the donor designation to your driver's license or state I.D. card. In Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Sign up today!

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Share Your Story

Inspire. Advocate. Share your story...

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Gift of Life works tirelessly to rewrite the stories for the more than 5,600 people in our region waiting for their second chance at life. The gift of organ and tissue donation truly can change someone's life and rewrite their story. How has the Gift of Life rewritten your story? Share with us.

 

Threads of Love Donor Quilt

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Explore the online quilts to view the quilt squares provided by the loved ones of those who died and gave the gift of life. The actual quilts are available for display in public places throughout the region to promote donor awareness.

 

Joe's Story

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Joe thought his days of playing soccer were over when he was diagnosed with heart disease and needed a life-saving heart transplant to survive. Now, at 18, he is back on the field and living up to his nickname "The Blur" all thanks to his hero, an organ donor.

Click here to read Joe's story.

 
 
 
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