PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Gift of Life Donor Program marked president and CEO Howard Nathan’s 40th anniversary with the organization with a celebration Tuesday morning.
It was humble beginnings for Howard Nathan when he was hired in July, 1978, by Steve Sammut at what was then called The Delaware Valley Transplant Program.
“He basically said, I really want this job, and I will work for free until you can afford to pay me,'” Sammut said.
Since then, the organization has coordinated more than 40,000 organ transplants and about 1 million tissue transplants.
“You know, the power of donation and transplant is really the power of what life’s about,” Nathan said. “It’s about people helping people. It’s about neighbor helping neighbor.”
Among those, 14-year-old Michael McVey, who donated his liver, kidney, and corneas after he died from injuries in a rope swing accident. His mother, Sue, says with support from Howard and Gift of Life, she’s been able to travel the country sharing her son’s story.
“Howard believed in me, and he believed in our story,” McVey said. “I’m pretty sure we saved a few lives.”