Each person who is connected to donation and transplantation has walked a unique path. Our stories are woven together with a similar thread – the fabric of donation and transplantation – yet the beauty of each one is that the people who fill our tales are unique to our lives.
Participation in Gift of Life Stories is available to everyone impacted by donation and transplantation. Sharing yours or your loved one’s story honors their memory and conveys a message of hope – that everyone shares the gift of life.
You can search our database of stories by first name or look at all the stories within a specific Kentucky county.
Thank you for visiting the Gift of Life Stories to learn more about donor and recipient families. Click here to share your Gift of Life story.
My name is Laura Bowling. In 2010, at age 46, I was told I have congestive heart failure. A year later I had surgery for a defibrillator. After 5 years of being on medication I started having symptoms again. I went to Jewish hospital ER. I ended up staying for 2 weeks. It was at this time that i was told by an awesome group of doctors that I needed a heart transplant. I went through many test in preparation for the procedure. Although it was devastating news for myself and my family, we try to remain positive. I could not get through this without the love support and prayers from family and friends. For my family, this type of news is all too familiar, as my Dad had a Heart transplant in 1984. He was the 7th recipient to receive a heart transplant at Jewish. (He lived 9 years!). I have only been on the list since May 2017. I remain very positive and up beat about this situation. I've got an amazing group of doctors and an awesome support group of family and friends. I would love to see more people become organ donors. Life is so precious and [...]
Wilson is special. Wilson is special because he doesn’t think he is special. Wilson is special because God sent him into this world bearing an unbelievably heavy cross. Wilson was born with Biliary Atresia a disease that could only be fixed by a liver transplant. God also sent Wilson suffering and pain, the kind that most of us never have to endure. God’s blessing was that he sent this to Wilson as an infant and he doesn’t have to remember the way that kind of pain felt. As Wilson’s time with us was getting too close to ending, God sent him the most amazing and wonderful gift. God sent Wilson a new liver, the gift of a new life. God also helped a family, while suffering their own loss; find the strength to help someone else. Wilson is special because out of all the people in the world, God sent Wilson a second chance to live his life. Wilson is a good son, grandson, brother and cousin. He does well in school. He loves to be with his friends. He likes to play golf and really just about any sport. He does well in FBLA. He is a hard worker [...]
I was getting a little worried. I was spending more time in the hospital than out. I had been on the transplant list for 3 years. Three years of not knowing if I was going to live or die. I made out my will and arranged my funeral with the help of my sister. I finally reached out and put all my worries in God's hands. I would not pray for a donor. I could not ask for someone to sacrifice their life for me. When I received the call that they had a liver, I viewed it as a divine gift. It was a long ten hour surgery. My liver did not want to come out and the donor liver did not want to go in! After surgery I experienced intense pain. Although underneath the pain I felt healthier already. I spent two and a half weeks in the hospital. I then had to stay close to the hospital for a while. This was tough because my home was two hours away. Also, I had not been able to work in quite awhile. Thankfully, I was told about the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks program called Patient Assistance Fund. They [...]
My son Colt Tuff had just turned 6 months on the day his life and his grandfathers life were taken from them! They were involved in a camper trailer accident on Memorial Day which killed his grandfather instantly. Colt was flown to a children's hospital to where we found out he was brain dead. I had never considered the thought that one day I may have to make the decision of organ donation for one of my children. My husband and I were already registered organ donors prior to this situation, and although we knew it was something we wanted done with our organs, it was something we weren't extremely adamant about. While there was a wait for them to legally declare Colt brain dead, I had decided I wanted Colt's organs to be donated. It wasn't something I had to put a lot of thought in because something just came over me telling me that I needed to do this! I needed to make a positive out of this horrible situation. Colt needed to be remembered as the Little superhero that saved 3 lives, not the baby who was killed on Memorial Day. We informed the doctors that we [...]
My name is Michelle and I am a transplant Assistant at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. I have been at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for almost four years now and I enjoy what I do very much. Before I was hired to work for the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in October 2013 I did my clinical externship there for my medical assisting degree. I was so touched and inspired by transplant recipients and donors that I became a registered organ donor myself. In August of 2016 I made the decision to go back to college and get my degree in nursing. I am currently attending college at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. One of my first assignments for my English class was to write about a topic that inspires me most. I chose organ donation. We were allowed to share our topics and papers with the class. My English class was so inspired and learned so much about organ donation that the next night of class, I had several of my classmates come up and tell me that they had gone online and registered to be organ donors. My experience with this is that there [...]
January 13, 2015 is the day that my family members will never forget. On that day, I had a heart attack that almost killed me and started a journey that I never dreamt I would be a part of. I had been diagnosed with pneumonia and thought I was having a relapse. I was aching under my arms, and my wife convinced me to go back to the doctor. When I arrived, I was having a heart attack. I was transferred to the hospital with only 10% heart function. The first few days are a blur to me but not for my wife and kids. I was given no hope of getting better. After many procedures, I came home with multiple medications and a weak body. I have always been an avid hunter and golfer. I was too weak to do either. As my kidneys continued to weaken due to medications, I had an LVAD implanted. The LVAD does the work of the heart through a tube that comes out of my abdomen and attaches to a controller with two batteries. I have this 5lb machine strapped to my waist every day. I must have an extra controller and batteries [...]