They were racing brothers…Stefan and Justin Wilson. An accident on the track took Justin’s life, but as an organ and tissue donor, his tragedy turned into a miracle for five other people. Stefan stopped by Colorado & Company to share the story of his brother’s legacy and how he now spreads the word about the importance of organ and tissue donation.
I am one of the few people who walk into a hospital perfectly healthy to undergo major surgery. In 2004, I did just that. I donated a kidney to my father. Ten years earlier, he was one of the world’s first successful double-lung transplant recipients off a ventilator. The anti-rejection medications he took eventually destroyed his kidneys, and after a decade, he needed another transplant — this time a kidney. I was a perfect match.
Tras dar a conocer que en nuestra comunidad más de 500 hispanos están esperando un trasplante que les salve la vida, se llevó a cabo la celebraciónanual (en abril) del Mes Nacional de la Donación y fecha que tiene como objetivo crear conciencia sobre lo crucial que significa la donación de órganos, ojos y tejidos y el impacto que tiene para salvar y sanar a miles de personas cada año.
Tanner Denton was on vacation with his family in Hawaii in 2016 when he went on an organ donation kick. There was not much of a sequitur to the conversation, according mother Allison McKissen. Her son — a 23-year-old Colorado Mesa University student and avid baseball fan — started asking all his relatives whether they were organ donors, asking even to see their driver’s licenses. “He was talking to everyone about it,” McKissen said. A few weeks later, when Tanner was fatally injured in a wreck on Redlands Parkway, his mother remembered his words.
Organ donation can save countless lives here and across the country. April is National Donate Life Month and St. Mary’s takes part in raising awareness for these selfless acts. St. Mary’s Medical Center and Donor Alliance are raising a Donate Life flag as a reminder of how important organ donations, like in the case of Tanner Denton, can be for many people. Wednesday afternoon, dozens gathered to pay tribute to Denton and how his organ donation saved 2 lives and impacted up to 70 lives through tissue donation.
A local woman with firsthand knowledge of the benefits of organ donation is getting local businesses involved in an effort to raise awareness. Patricia Thomas recently handed out cork hearts to more than a dozen area businesses. People who go into a business that has a heart will have the chance to take a picture with the heart and posted it on social media with the hashtag #ShowYourHeart.
April is National Donate Life Month. It’s a time to raise awareness about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. That’s something Justin Wilson’s family knows about. The IndyCar driver and Colorado resident died in a freak accident in 2015 during a race at Pocono Raceway. A piece of debris from a crash ahead flew back and hit his head. He later died. It was a devastating time for his younger brother, Stefan, who is also an IndyCar driver. But he is proud knowing that his brother was an organ donor who saved five lives. “Just the fact that those five families have got someone here with them today because of a decision that Justin made is pretty impactful,” Stefan said.
April is National Donate Life Month, a time to encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. Locally, it seems that past encouragement must have worked, because the Holyoke Driver License Office, located in the Phillips County Clerk and Recorder Office, has been recognized for the highest donor designation rate for offices of its size (those processing fewer than 1,500 documents last year).
If you’re in Colorado, you may come across a symbol of love. “There’s people throughout the state going around and putting little hearts,” said Diane Eckert, who’s brother was an organ donor. For Eckert, these hearts represent much more than that. “We are hopefully inspiring others to get their little red hearts on their drivers licenses,” said Eckert. Eckert saw first hand just how big of an impact organ donation can bring, when she lost her brother Cody in a car accident in May of 2013.