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, West Virginia or Indiana county.
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Before transplant Brandon was just 28 when he went to the hospital for what he thought was severe indigestion. This visit ended up lasting 3 weeks and he was diagnosed with Polycythemia and Budd Chiari. These two rare diseases affected both his gallbladder as well as his liver and spleen. Prior to this visit, Brandon had always been a pretty sleepy guy. He would sometimes come home from work and go straight to bed, sleeping right through until the next morning. As it turns out, this was a side effect of a buildup of ammonia in the blood causing extreme fatigue. The years following diagnosis proved to be challenging for Brandon. As a father of 2, it was hard to miss out on major portions of his kid’s childhood with hospital visits, and bedrest. His youngest (age 9 now) was just one month old when he was diagnosed. When he was asked to draw a picture of his Daddy he drew a picture of him in bed and sick. This reality broke Brandon’s heart. While Brandon waited for his transplant, he would experience peaks and valleys in his health. At one point, he was feeling really good and [...]
In 2010, at the age of 38, William Powell, Jr., the husband of DuPont Circle Director of Admissions, Charmaine Powell, was hospitalized and told his kidneys had failed. With no known health issues that would have led to this diagnosis, this was a shock to William and his family. Immediately, he began dialysis treatments that would last 4-5 hours, 3 days a week. William always kept a positive attitude and did his best to remain active and healthy despite the pain and exhaustion of dialysis treatments. He was eventually added to the transplant list. Several family members and friends tested to be living donors, but no one was a match. On November 4th, William and Charmaine put their 3 year old son to bed and sat down to watch a movie. Just a short while into the movie, William's phone rang and it was the transplant center saying that there was a kidney for William. He received his gift of life on November 5th, 2017...almost 7 years to the date of his original diagnosis. William and Charmaine became support systems for others on dialysis prior to his transplant and this year have also become Ambassadors for Donate Life through the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates. "Life can change at the [...]
On March 18, 2015 my sister and I sat in the hospital room holding our mom's hands as her tired weary eyes looked at us. She squeezed our hands as we talked to her about her deteriorated condition and how much we loved her and didn't want her to suffer. Through many tears and hours of talking about what should we do, are we making the right decision, even though we had had several discussions with mom before of what she would want when this time had come. We held her hands and said our goodbyes as the medication dripped her off into a restful slumber. We sat there for hours watching her move in the bed, soft moans and groans as if she were dreaming, many visits from the wonderful nurses making sure she rested comfortably. Then the moment of, she's not breathing, I don't feel a heartbeat anymore, fear, horror, pain and relief for her all at once. The nurses confirmed she left us. We weren't afraid for her because her spiritual beliefs were strong and unwavering, we were afraid for us, my sister and I, as we would never get to hear her laugh or feel her [...]
My son was 2 years, 9 months and 23 days old when he passed away from smoke inhalation. If someone could have given me a brain to keep my baby alive, I would have done anything but that isn't possible. So since my baby was gone, why wouldn't I help another family in a similar situation as I was. So I donated my baby's heart valve and both corneas. He had the most beautiful, baby, ice blue eyes and to know my little man help other kids his age makes me so very proud to be his mom mom.
During my 20 week ultrasound, an area was found on our son's liver. Further testing revealed that our son had a mass on his liver, later diagnosed as a benign tumor called a messenchymal hamartoma. We relocated to Cincinnati when I was 36 weeks pregnant so our son could receive care at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital. After birth, the tumor was thought to be a congenital hemangioma which is a vascular tumor that shrinks on its own after birth. Only the tumor did not shrink. Instead it grew larger. A biopsy was performed when Brooks was 4 weeks old and an official diagnosis was made. The tumor was benign, but rapidly growing. He needed a new liver and he needed it yesterday. He was emergently placed at the top of the transplant list. He was in respiratory failure. Renal failure. Heart failure. Our 5 week old baby boy passed away in our arms on March 16th, 2018 just days after being placed on the transplant list. If I could've given him my liver I would have. I couldn't give my son what he needed to live. So I am committed to learning and educating others about organ donation in honor [...]
Organ donation is by far one of the most amazing advancements in medicine. The process just shows the love for one another by donating organs and helping those in need. I personally do not have a direct connection to organ donation and its process; however, I have seen and experienced many struggles in regards to health. First, I have volunteered at the local hospital, Baptist Health, on a Med/Surg floor and in the ICU. When in the ICU, I experienced many different emotions from happiness when talking to a healing child to grief when experiencing multiple deaths in a row within a mere five days. Some of the patients who passed were registered organ donors, and I, along with the nurses, called upon KODA to speak with their families about the potential for donation. When KODA arrived to recover these precious gifts, I felt happy knowing that the organs would be going to someone in need. I liked to think that there was a family out there that will experience the utmost joy knowing that they would be able to spend at least a few more minutes with their loved one. Volunteering in the hospital opened my eyes to the [...]