Honoring Donors in National Donate Life Month: Bobby Tinnell  |  April 17, 2014

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Bobby’s wife, Mary, with his picture

While many people understand the importance of donation, Bobby Tinnell fully appreciated it after receiving a life-saving liver transplant in 2004.

Bobby’s transplant allowed him to celebrate alongside his family at graduations and weddings. It also allowed him to be present for the birth of his grandchildren. Bobby and his family were eternally grateful for the irreplaceable time his transplant provided.

When he passed away, Bobby’s family made sure that medical staff knew he wanted to be a donor. He wanted to pay forward the gift of life he had received. Bobby was able to be a tissue donor, and his family is proud that he provided life-saving and life-enhancing tissues to recipients in need.

Fire Chief Back in Action after Spinal Surgery  |  April 15, 2014

IMG-20121209-00081Taking it easy wasn’t an option for John, a 28-year veteran of the Havana, Illinois fire department. He started as a volunteer firefighter, became full-time seven years later and worked his way up through the ranks to fire chief.

Being active was a huge part of John’s life at work and at home. As a hands-on fire chief, he refused to sit behind a desk. In his free time, he loved to exercise and remodel his 130-year-old home.

A nagging back injury escalated into a painful bulging disc that affected every aspect of John’s life. His doctor told him the disc was pressing on his sciatic nerve, but they wanted to explore all options before resorting to spine surgery.

Continue reading John’s story here: John – Bone Allograft Recipient.

Donor Family Starts Random Acts of Kindness Movement in Celebration of Son’s Life  |  April 14, 2014

Michael Collins’ family remembers the 22-year-old as a vibrant combination of focus, fun and faith. He was a senior exercise science major at Illinois State University and worked as an assistant baseball coach with his father on the University High School baseball team.

Michael was critically injured after a drunk driver crashed into the car he was riding in on March 29. On April 2, he passed away and became an organ and tissue donor. Michael’s gift of life will save or enhance the lives of over 200 people.

His family is celebrating his life by encouraging people to perform random acts of kindness and share their stories using #MCStrong or via the Facebook page Pay it Forward for Michael Collins. Hundreds of people have shared stories of paying off a stranger’s medical bill or restaurant tab, buying toys or food for underprivileged children, leaving a bucket of tennis balls at a dog park, and encouraging people to register as organ, eye and tissue donors.

His family hopes that through each small act of kindness, their son’s legacy of generosity will live on.

Honoring Donors in National Donate Life Month: Meko Nelson  |  April 10, 2014

mekoThough Meko’s life was short, his impact is long lasting because his parents made the selfless decision to donate his tissue. Meko was able to touch the lives of many through a very special type of knee transplant that utilizes juvenile cartilage allograft tissue to treat focal articular defects in the knee, foot, ankle, elbow, shoulder and hip joints.

The 8-month-old’s precious gift has given new hope and transformed the quality of life for:

-a 23-year-old man in Denver, CO

-a 33-year-old man in Thomaston, GA

-a 40-year-old woman in Skokie, IL

-a 24-year-old woman in Omaha, NE

-a 48-year-old woman in Edgewood, KY

…and 68 other individuals of all ages across the United States

His family takes comfort in knowing that Meko’s donation improved so many lives.

Tissue Donation Specialist has Personal and Professional Connection to Donation  |  April 8, 2014


Photo courtesy of Texas Medical Center News

Charles Wiltz Jr. has a unique perspective on the opportunities made possible by the gift of life; Charles works as a tissue donation specialist with LifeGift and is the son of both a donor and recipient.

Charles’ mother, Geraldine, needed a kidney transplant due to complications from kidney disease. Twelve years passed before she finally received the gift she had been waiting for. The transplant that saved Geraldine inspired her husband to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor. When Charles’ father passed away, his corneas and tissue provided life-saving and life-enhancing possibilities for many recipients.

Charles recently shared his story with Texas Medical Center News in celebration of National Donate Life Month – read the article here.