Thomas Gray’s Amazing Legacy  |  August 4, 2015

Thomas Gray (Photo Credit: Mark Walpole)

Thomas Gray (Photo Credit: Mark Walpole)

When Sarah Gray and her husband Ross found out that one of their twins wouldn’t live very long after birth, they made the brave decision to donate his organs and tissues for research. This is the Gray family’s story of strength, love and the amazing potential of the gift of life.

The Gray family has been on an incredible journey to learn about their son’s contributions to science and meet the researchers who honored his donation.

Listen to their Radiolab interview here.

Meet the World’s Youngest Double Hand Transplant Recipient  |  July 29, 2015

Photo courtesy of NBC News

Photo courtesy of NBC News

Zion Harvey’s childhood came to a halt when he faced a devastating infection resulting in the amputation of his hands and feet when he was just two years old.

Now eight years old, he has the chance to be a kid again after receiving a double hand transplant in a groundbreaking surgery performed this month at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Zion is currently recovering and is looking forward to the little things, like holding his little sister and playing on the playground.

“I hoped for somebody to ask me do I want a hand transplant and it came true,” Zion said.

Continue reading this incredible story here.

Family Learns About Mother’s Amazing Legacy Through Donation for Research  |  July 22, 2015

Photo courtesy of Marquette Magazine

Photo courtesy of Marquette Magazine

After Katie McDevitt passed away in 1980, her family knew they wouldn’t have a traditional funeral. Katie left her body to science, hoping to help advance medical research in any way she could.

Her family was astonished when they recently learned just how much their mother contributed. Katie’s gift, along with gifts from 29 other donors, were featured in a landmark anatomy textbook that thousands of medical students have studied and still use today.

“I was elated,” her daughter, Kate, said. “My father said it wasn’t surprising because of our mother’s generous heart. My mother was that loving, spiritual, faithful, wonderful person who served others, who was always concerned with the needs of others. She was 39 years old and bent on making a difference, and that’s why it made sense that she wanted to give her body to medicine.”

Continue reading this incredible story here.

The Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation and Donate Life America Launch New Observance: Donate Life ECHO  |  July 7, 2015

ECHO_ProfilePic_webThe Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation and Donate Life America teamed up to launch “Donate Life ECHO,” a brand new nationwide observance aimed at multicultural communities.

ECHO stands for Every Community Has Opportunity and is being launched to increase engagement with African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino and other multicultural communities.

ECHO’s objective is to emphasize the importance of sharing one’s personal decision to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor and encouraging others to do the same.

You can learn more about this new observance here.

Bone Allograft Helps Relieve Pain for Recipient  |  July 6, 2015

Cindy

Cindy suffered from spinal stenosis, a condition causing the open spaces in the spine to narrow, which can put pressure on the nerves. The condition can cause pain, numbness and muscle weakness. She already endured one spinal surgery, but it didn’t correct the issue.

The spinal stenosis greatly affected my life,” she said. “I had to lay down most of the day, and still was in incredible pain, even though I was on pain medication. I had no quality of life.”

She was unable to work or do many things without help. Because the pain was so severe, she underwent a second spinal fusion procedure.

During the surgery, her doctor used cancellous chips, a type of bone allograft that can be used in a variety of orthopedic procedures.

“The recovery following surgery was difficult, but it was all worth it in the end,” Cindy said. “I went from being unable to function to being able to do anything I want to do. I have no pain and no limitations.”

After her surgery and recovery, Cindy took time to reflect on what it meant to receive donated human tissue in the procedure.

“I feel incredibly blessed that a donor was available to help me in this way. I am sorry someone lost their life, of course, but I am very glad that the donor and the donor’s family were unselfish enough to donate.”

She also thought about what she would say to her donor, if she could.

I would tell my donor how much they changed my quality of life for the better, and how I would never forget the sacrifice they made. My life has changed 180 degrees because of the transplant made available to me.”