Stefan Wilson has teamed up with Indiana Donor Network to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation through the #Driven2SaveLives campaign.
Stefan’s connection to donation is incredibly personal. His brother, IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, passed away in August 2015 from injuries sustained in a crash at Pocono Raceway. Justin had previously registered his decision to become a donor and discussed this with his wife. On the worst day of his family’s life, Justin gave them a beacon of hope through his final lifesaving act of donation and became a hero to five individuals who received his gift of life.
Read more about Stefan’s passion for donation here.
When Sarah and Ross Gray found out that one of their unborn twins had a terminal condition called anencephaly, they made a decision that would send them on an unexpected journey. The Grays donated Thomas’ organs and tissues to research and later got the unique opportunity to meet the researchers who honored his donation.
Sarah recently shared her story in a TedTalk and you can listen to her miraculous experience here.
Kirstin struggled with a debilitating knee condition for many years, made more challenging by her active job as a nurse at Shriner’s Hospital in Chicago.
Though she underwent several different treatments for her knee, her pain persisted. She received an osteochondral allograft transplant in 2015 and is now able to continue helping patients heal.
She recently shared her story in her own words and discussed how grateful she is for the gift she received.
Read her story here.
Michael enjoyed his role as a coach and pitcher for his company’s co-ed softball team, but never considered the impact one hit could have. During a game, a line drive collided with Michael’s toe. Though it seemed like a small injury at the time, it evolved into a painful condition that followed Michael over the next decade.
Over time, calcium built up in the main metatarsal joint of his injured foot. Eventually, Michael developed a limp and the pain worsened. He underwent surgery to remove the build-up, but the procedure only increased his pain.
“I was limping more and eventually it changed the way I walked,” Michael said. “I was now walking on my second and third metatarsal joints which basically created a new ball on my foot.”
After his experience with the first surgery, Michael sought a second opinion. The doctor informed him that she felt a fusion procedure, using a bone allograft, would help him heal.
Michael has a unique perspective on allografts because his wife works for AlloSource, the organization that processed the graft used in his surgery.
“The piece of bone transplanted into my foot helped reshape my bones and gave me the ability to walk normally,” said Michael.
Following the surgery, he adhered to the plan his doctor outlined, driven by his desire to return to his normal lifestyle.
“Now I can go out with my wife and I’m not grumpy due to the pain I was living with prior to the surgery,” said Michael.
When he reflects on the journey it took to get where he is today, Michael expressed gratitude for the gift of tissue donation. Not only does he understand the importance of donation because of his wife’s work, but also because of a personal connection.
“I feel blessed because when my mother passed away, she was able to donate her eyes and I always wondered if the recipient of her eyes would be able to see the joy she saw in life,” he said.
When asked what he would say to his donor, if he could, Michael said, “I would thank them and let them know what they did was a blessing, not just to me but to many others. In my faith, I hope one day I will be able to thank them personally.”
AlloSource’s President and CEO, Tom Cycyota, sat down with Colorado’s Pro Business Radio to discuss the mission-driven work we do and what it’s like to work at AlloSource. We are grateful for the opportunity to highlight our unique organization and talk about the life-enhancing and life-saving possibilities of tissue donation.
Listen to the interview here.