Pat Thomas began her journey promoting organ and tissue donation after receiving a letter from Kisayo, an 85-year-old woman from Japan, that changed her life.
Inspirational stories like Pat’s start from a tragedy, but then turn into advocacy. In the letter, Kisayo stated that she used to be blind in both eyes. After receiving a corneal transplant from someone in America, she could now see clearly in her left eye. Kisayo then explained that she had received the donation from Pat’s daughter Kathleen.
After receiving the letter, Pat felt a calling to promote organ and tissue donation, so she began inspiring the community on donation in honor of Kathleen. She knows in her heart that Kathleen is proud of her, watching her help save lives through organ and tissue donation education and inspiration.
After reading the letter, Pat took it to a local paper where they wrote a wonderful article about Kathleen and Kisayo. In the article, it mentioned the importance of organ and tissue donation. After realizing that the local paper would write a story on Kathleen and Kisayo, Pat sent out a letter to each of the newspapers in Wyoming. Due to Pat’s commitment, several other articles in Wyoming were written to educate the community on donation, honor Kathleen and celebrate Kathleen’s gift to Kisayo and other unknown recipients.
Pat continued to share her story in her local community. But it didn’t end there. Pat and her husband spent winters in Arizona. There, she started to send letters to newspapers as well, where she was again successful in getting newspapers to share her story. After an article appeared in a local paper, Pat received a call from the ABC television station in Phoenix, Arizona. She was interviewed and aired on the evening news sharing her story about Kathleen’s gifts of life.
Advocate for Life
Following Pat’s advocacy in Wyoming and Arizona, she joined Donor Alliance’s Advocate for Life program where she continued to inspire and educate those around her on donation. In 2011, Pat got the opportunity to attend the Rose Parade as a Donate Life representative for Donor Alliance. There, she honored Kathleen on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float.
“Donation/Transplantation has meant so much to me. It gives me an opportunity to do something so special in Kathleen’s memory. I just wanted something good to come out of our tragedy. I know she would be so happy that she was able to help the two people receiving her corneas and the 20 people who received her tissue. I have met so many wonderful folks on my journey. Celebrating with those who received the gift of life and cried with other donor family members, especially donor moms.” – Pat Thomas
You can register online today at donatelifecolorado.org for Colorado residents or donatelifewyoming.org for Wyoming residents.
Read more inspirational stories like Pat’s here.