Marathon Enthusiast Runs Again After Ligament Transplant  |  April 21, 2014

5k raceAs an avid runner and a kindergarten teacher, Robin’s health is crucial to both her personal and professional life.

Robin tore her right ACL playing soccer in college. She worked hard to overcome the injury, but she was unable to participate in activities involving lateral movement.

Since she could no longer play sports, she decided to pick up running. Robin challenged herself to run five miles without stopping, a goal she quickly accomplished.  With that goal behind her, she continued to push herself to run faster and longer.

Continue reading Robin’s story here: Robin – Ligament Allograft Recipient.

Honoring Donors in National Donate Life Month: Brett Mills  |  April 18, 2014

Brett MillsBrett loved to be outside – he was passionate about fishing, hunting and spending time at his family’s cabin.

Brett’s life ended in a tragic car accident, but his legacy lives on through the work of his mother, Sherry. After Brett’s death, she started The Wounded Spirit Foundation, named after a song Brett’s father wrote about him.

Sherry realized other parents were also navigating the devastating grief of losing a child. She founded The Wounded Spirit Foundation to connect with other mothers who had also lost a child. Sherry provides grieving mothers with baskets that include books, a candle, a journal, a Donate Life bracelet and information about Brett.

Sherry is proud Brett’s decision to be an organ and tissue donor was his own. The gift of Brett’s tissue will provide healing for many recipients.

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.