Recommended Books on Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation

Recommended Books on Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation

Recommended Books on Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation

Personal Experience and Narrative Books

Four Eyes: A Memoir of a Millennial Caregiver, by Alisha Bashaw
Four Eyes: A Memoir of a Millennial Caregiver chronicles the story of Alisha’s struggle to find meaning in the seemingly pointless repeated defeats of her parents’ chronic illnesses that orphaned her in her early 30s. Assuming a caregiving role for her parents in addition to pursuing her own developing life path, Alisha struggles through old maps of thinking where guilt and shame reigned until others were pleased, and she was utterly exhausted. Can she find balance between self-sacrifice and individuation, or will she watch herself slowly fade away in the process? Her witty journey to make sense of it all takes her straight into battle with the crippling grief and powerful darkness that threaten to take over entirely. And to win, she must let go of all she once knew and follow the unknown into the world of organ donation, deep resiliency, and answerless faith.
Pre-order on Amazon. (Publication Date: 10/5/21)

Permission to Thrive: My Journey from Grief to Growth, by Susan Angel Miller
In Permission to Thrive, Susan Angel Miller traces her extraordinary journey, which begins where her healthy fourteen-year-old daughter dies suddenly from a brain tumor, and the family’s decision–with their rabbi’s counsel–to donate Laura’s organs, saving the life of a woman with whom the Miller family would cultivate an exceptional relationship.
LRS Press, 2019. 232 paged. ISBN 978-1-7324960-3-3

New Life: Lessons in Faith and Courage from Transplant Recipients, by Bob Violino
“New Life is a collection of heartwarming and compelling stories that will encourage not only transplant candidates, recipients, and their families, but people who are facing any kind of adversity. Through uplifting accounts of human achievement, readers are left with a deep sense of admiration for the accomplishments and triumphs of the individuals profiled. These stories show us how to overcome the most difficult of circumstances and go on to lead active, generous, and in many cases, remarkable lives.” Written by Bob Violino, who received a kidney transplant from his wife., 150 pages, 2003. ISBN #0-595-26383-6. Paperback, $13.95.

A Gift of Life: A Page from the Life of a Living Organ Donor, by Lynn Chabot-Long
“This is the extraordinary story of an ordinary family caught in a life or death struggle to save their own.” Chabot-Long relates the story of her kidney donation, and the effects of kidney disease and subsequent transplantation on the family involved. Je-Lynn Publications, WI, 1996, 200 pages. ISBN 0-9650555-5-8.

How Will They Get That Heart Down Your Throat?: A Child’s View of Transplants, by Karen Walton
Karen Walton, a kindergarten teacher was healthy until she developed a serious heart condition called cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle. The only thing that could save her life was a heart transplant. After her transplant she wrote a children’s book. A kindergarten age student’s question inspired the title of the book. The book can be purchased for $21.95. E.M. Press Inc., a Manassas publishing company, will donate a portion of its profit from the book. To order call 800-727-4630.

Life Row, by Ed Linz
Life Row is a case study of how a family can survive a medical crisis. This book also includes 10 steps to survive an extended medical crisis. For more information visit the Life Row web site. Exchange Publishing, WA, 1997, 332 pages. ISBN 0-9656895-0-6.

A Small Part of Me, by Kenneth Anderson
Mr. Anderson donated a kidney to his brother; this is his account of the experience. 50 pages. Softcover: $8 (includes shipping). To order, send a check or money order for $8 (US) to: Ken Anderson, PO Box 141, Rehoboth, MA 02769

A Gift from the Heart …A Sharing of One Man’s Heart Transplant Experience, by Jim Gleason
…an online version of a book about Mr. Gleason’s transplant (including “Some Days are Diamonds”) with many articles on subjects like motivation, fear, nutrition, support from family and friends, a reading list, etc. (not available in bookstores)

I’m Glad You’re Not Dead: A Liver Transplant Story, by Elizabeth Parr
From the Houston Daily News review: ” …a sometimes harrowing tale of doctors appointments, misdiagnosis, waiting, three false starts to the operating room and finally the transplant itself. Parr is candid in describing the debilitating symptoms and side effects liver patients can expect while awaiting the hoped for transplant. She tells of her own periods of encephalopathy, the clinical term for mental confusion brought on by toxins in the bloodstream. …And there is in her story the unbudgeable stubbornness that would not allow her to give up hope.”

Journey Publishing, 1996, 160 pages, ISBN 0-9654728-0-9
Email: or write: Journey Publishing, 6610 Stewart Road, Suite 16, Galveston, Texas 77551. The cost is $12.95 + $3.25 shipping & handling.

Second Chance, by Diane Hebert
In Second Chance Diane Hebert tells the story of her heart-lung transplant in 1985, the first in Quebec. You can see a summary of her experience, learn more about her foundation, or order a copy of Second Chance at the Diane Hebert Foundation’s web page.

The Diane Hebert Foundation, P.O. Box 95025, Lorraine, (Quebec), Canada J6Z 4P1
phone: (514) 965-0333

Stories from the Quilt: A Compilation of Stories and Photos of the National Donor Family Quilt
features words from over 400 organ and tissue donor families who have made squares in honor of their loved ones for the National Donor Family Quilt. Full-color photos, large format.
Contact: National Kidney Foundation, Stories from the Quilt, 30 East 33rd St., New York, NY 10016, phone: 1-800-622-9010

Taking Heart, by A.C. Greene
The author, a columnist for The Dallas Morning News, described his experience as the first patient in what was, at the time, the new heart transplant program of the St. Paul Medical Center in Dallas. Mr. Greene provides us with a brisk review of transplantation biology and physiology, some history of transplantation and an inside look at the program in Dallas. Additionally, he had the unique opportunity to return after his own operation to observe another one. Readers will appreciate the book’s low-keyed approach, with a minimum of self-reference and lots of humor.
Simon & Schuster, 1990, 209 pages, plus index. ISBN to follow.

Dying for Life: The Journey to Transplant, by John Landers
“This book is my story of the journey from a minor stroke to heart transplant and everything in between. It educates, inspires, moves people because it is real, honest and very personal. It is not a medical book, but an off-center journey to the edge of death and back. It is endorsed by some of the most renowned doctors in the field of cardiothoracic surgery and cardiology. And if you don’t laugh out loud at least once, you missed something.”

Distinctive Publishing Corp., 192 pages. Soft: $6.50 +$3.00 s/h ISBN 0-942963-39-3.
To order a copy contact: WRITE ON, 1352 E. Todd Drive, Tempe, AZ 85283, (602) 820-5714

Raising Lazarus, by Robert Pensak, MD and Dwight Williams
“Hold me in your mind’s eye: a forty-two-year-old man lying on his kitchen floor in the aftermath of a disease that has haunted a bloodline for three generations.” This book is the narrative of Dr. Pensack’s struggles with a congenital heart condition that eventually leads to his having a heart transplant. It describes his trials before and afterwards, including his bouts of rejection.
G.B. Putnam & Sons, 1994. 317 pages.

Transplants: Unwrapping the Second Gift of Life, by Pat Stave Helmberger
“The inside story of transplants as told by recipients and their families, donor families, and health professionals…Does a transplant recipient develop personality traits of the donor? How does a transplant change your attitude or sex life? How does it affect family members? What are the side effects? From the elation of a successful organ transplant to the struggle of coping with the complications of anti-rejection drugs, this investigative and moving book addresses the questions and dispels the myths.”
Chronimed Publishing, 204 pages. ISBN 1-56561-004-0. Limited quantities, but copies may be available at transplant centers and in public libraries.

I’ve Been Transplanted, by Eugene Sisco
“Twenty years ago, Eugene and his family were transplanted–figuratively. They moved to Eden. A different town, with different people whom themselves were transplanted. It was through these people and this town that young Eugene learned to use humor to cope with feelings of fear, love, and rejection. April 14, 1992 Eugene Sisco was literally TRANSPLANTED and all the characters that helped comfort him as a young boy came back to offer their wit and wisdom.” See sample chapters at
PPI Publishing, 1995. 127 pages. ISBN 1-57515-078-6. 9.95 Each for 1 to 26 copies, $8.00 each for 27 and up; call 1-800-711-0466 or email

A Matter of Heart, by Nancy Shank Pedder
What are the chances that finding a lump in your breast would lead to a heart transplant? One in a million? Nancy Shank Pedder is that one in a million.
An inspirational story about courage, family love, and the sheer will to overcome incredible medical odds. A portion of the profits will be donated to the Organ Transplant Fund.
Saturn Press: 192 pages. ISBN 1-885843-08-9. $19.95 each. Call 1-888-32books, or visit

Recommended Books on Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation