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.”