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.
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.
Early in our married life, my husband Craig and I became organ donors by signing the back of our driver's license. We never questioned our decisions. We were fortunate to share 39 years of marriage. Craig was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in 2008, We had many discussions about end of life wishes before surgeries and treatments and organ donation remained a constant. He suffered a cancer related stroke in 2015, but remained strong in his resolve to enjoy life as a cancer and stroke survivor. At 6'6" tall, it seemed this larger than life husband, father, and grandfather was invincible, but he suffered a massive pulmonary embolism in November 2016. Given his health history I had no idea whether he could still be an organ donor. I asked about this possibility with a compassionate KODA employee. That night in the ER I gave permission for his corneas to become a gift of sight, as well as other bone, skin or tissues. In the weeks following, one of the most meaningful gifts our family received was the medal and certificate from KODA. Even more precious was the letter from the Kentucky Eye Bank sharing the news that both corneas were [...]
My 18 year old son, Tyson, was diagnosed in February 2018 with IgA Nephropathy. His blood pressure was elevated during and after a minor surgery in January. He’s doctor ran blood tests and we were sent to Norton Children’s in Louisville. There it was determined through a kidney biopsy that it was indeed IgA. His health progressively worsened, and by May he was starting home peritoneal dialysis nightly. In June he was hospitalized after having 2 seizures due to his high blood pressure. We were told he would need a kidney transplant. He was placed on the national registry and I was being vetted and tested as a potential donor. We received word September 5 I was eligible for donation, and on October 9, at Norton Children’s, I gave him his second chance at life. He’s a very athletic kid, who plays soccer for a traveling club as well as his high school. He missed the spring season with his club, and his senior season with his high school team. He’s been told he’ll be able to practice and play this coming spring with his club. He will graduate with honors May 2019 from McCracken County High School. He has [...]
My Son, Brayden was born with Hypo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome. He has under gone 3 open heart surgeries-10 surgeries total, plus numerous heart caths and stress tests. He has lead a relatively "normal" life. He loves basketball. This year he turned 16 years old. 4 months later we learned he would need a new heart, as his was getting tired and worn out. In June of this year he suffered a stroke due to the pumping of his heart being so weak. He has recovered well from the stroke. However, we now realize his need for a new heart is becoming more urgent than we thought. He is now on a continuous IV at home. He has been on the waiting list for 6 months. Many of his friends at the Children's hospital have received their gift of life. Those kids are amazing and I am so happy for them. Brayden said it is his turn now. I can't wait to see what Brayden can do with a healthy heart! He wants to go to college and become a basketball coach. Heartfelt thanks to all those who choose to donate life
I have been fortunate enough to receive the gift of life three times, once from my father as a living donor, and twice from deceased organ donors. I have been blessed with 22 wonderful additional years of life and would very much enjoy sharing my story with others to assist in getting others to be willing participants in sharing life with others that are in great need of a gift to survive. My transplant anniversary is November 12, also my older sister's birthday. I feel like I have been called to share my experience to positively affect others. Please donate to assist others to live on and continue to do good works to help others.
I was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosis Cholecystitis over 20 Years ago. My initial diagnosis foretasted that I would require a transplant within 7 years. I luckily experienced many more years than the initial diagnosis and I am grateful for the time I had prior to my true need for the transplant. Approximately 3 years ago I began to experience esophageal varieties which led to cirrhosis of my liver. After many procedures to repair the varieties - I experienced hepatacellular carcinoma on my liver which was treated with chemo beads through a TACE process. After a 6 month watch period, my cancer was stable and even reduced enough so that i was able to be listed on the transplant list. Through the grace of God, I received a second chance at life through the selfless actions of a strangers family who donated the organ I now have within my body. I have had some difficulty in my recovery and I still have a way to go, but it's all worth it and it's time for me to give back and help others who may be in need of a lifesaving organ donation.
My name is Michelle Branham and I’m from Magoffin County, Kentucky. I am recipient of a Kidney Transplant and this is my donation story! My journey to donation started a few years ago when I was diagnosed with kidney disease. I experienced many challenges throughout the past few years, working hard to overcome the obstacles the disease caused me. Despite my fight, I had to start dialysis, which helped manage my disease, but could not resolve it. After many Doctor and Hospital visits, I was informed I would need a lifesaving transplant. Although I’d heard about organ donation, I wasn’t fully aware of all the things that went into the process. After lots of testing, visits and meetings, I was placed on a transplant waiting list at Jewish Transplant Center, in Louisville KY. On September 9, 2017 I received the call that me and my family had long been waiting for. They had a match! I would be getting a new kidney!! I will never forget that phone call; I was actually at the Dialysis Center when I was contacted. The excitement I felt was indescribable! Me and my family hurriedly gathered our things and made the trip to Louisville [...]