On Wednesday, I drove to Chicago and met up with five regional coordinations (Jan Eschen, Daniel Lietz, Margaret Pearson, Angelique Marseille, and Gavin Dillon), as well as Mrs. Connie Boatman and Secretary White. There, an Organ Summit hosted by Gift of Hope was held. The purpose of the summit was to inform the audience of the effects organ and tissue donation not only has on the recipients, but the donor families as well. Though the benefits to organ and tissue recipients are clear, advocates at Gift of Hope say, the positive effects it has on the donor family isn’t. To do this, they gathered previous recipients, donors, and other families to tell their stories, and the impact organ and tissue transplantation has had on their lives.
One family that particularly had a tragic experience was that of Tristen Scott. One day, Tristen Scott visited his brother in the city to spend time together. When sitting on the ledge of a railing on his brothers patio, he fell several stories to his death. His brother called for an ambulance, and soon after Tristen was pronounced dead. His story didn’t end there, however. He ended up saving the lives of 5 others because he was an organ donor. His family later began the Tristen Scott Foundation, dedicated towards spreading awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation.
While there I was able to attend my first large conference with Secretary White, as well as meet the CEO of Gift of Hope, Kevin Cmunt. It was a very meaningful experience and I am so glad that I went because I was able to interact with families to dealt with the death of a loved one, and the organ and tissue donation process, first hand.
The Effects of Organ Donation on Donor Family:
- Turning what could be a tragic death into a hero story – what was once the death of a person is now the continued life of others.
- Knowing that your loved one made a dramatic difference in someone else’s life, and the family is able to see the lasting impacts of organ donation as they live on through someone else. Life, they learn, goes on.