People who have been impacted by donation and transplantation.
Organ and Tissue Donor
When James Carter, 21, passed away and became an organ and tissue donor in 2013, LaGwen, his mother, reached out to the recipients by letter, describing who James was and praying for their health. The oldest of four and uncle to one, James was quiet, respectful, well-mannered, and loved by everyone. This is proved, LaGwen says, at a candle light vigil held in James’ honor. “To see how many people he touched, it was unbelievable,” says LaGwen, while holding her grandson. James was a jack of all trades when it came to sports, playing both football and hockey while running track for charity events as well. “He gave his all to everyone and never expected anything in return. He worried more about others and kept his own feelings to himself. James brought me so much joy. He was my first born and gave meaning to being a mother.”
Yvette Bailey was gentle, kind, and loving. She was a people-person; she helped kids in foster care, stayed in touch with her entire graduating class, and worked in customer services at Sinai Hospital. After her sudden death in 2014, her mother Pat, twin sister Yvonne, and family found comfort knowing that Yvette’s wishes to become a donor were honored. Pat was very happy to learn that her daughter’s corneas went to help restore the vision of someone in Africa.
Not only did Yvette give the gift of sight to another, she also inspired her own family and friends to become organ, eye, and tissue donors in her memory.
JORDAN TAYLOR BROWN
When Jordan smiled, people around him smiled too. That’s what his mother Loretta remembers. But when Jordan was 21, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and instantly lost his smile and his life.
During this tragic time, his family and friends discovered that Jordan had registered as an organ donor. By honoring his decision they enabled him to help save the lives of seven people.
Kidney Recipient and Donor Aunt
Danette knows both the experience of being on the transplant waiting list and having a donor family member become a donor. In 2008, Danette was given a second chance at life when she received her kidney transplant after being diagnosed with end stage renal failure.
Three years later in 2011, Danette was reconnected to donation when her nephew Martez, 23, was shot and killed. In the midst of her grief, Danette wanted Martez to be able to help others. “I have an extended warranty on life, thanks to my donor. My nephew died, but it was an opportunity for our family to give someone else an extended warranty on their life, too.”
Before his transplant at Walter Reed Medical Center in October 2012, Daronta Briggs was receiving dialysis treatments three times a week for four long years. “Receiving a kidney transplant allowed me more time with my family and to focus on new endeavors,” says Daronta. “I am truly forever grateful for the gift of life I received from a selfless donor.” Daronta is now a devoted volunteer and advocate for organ and tissue donation, sharing his story and encouraging others to give the gift of life.
For decades, Donna Pierce struggled with a heart defect that prevented her from doing anything active. Always on the sidelines, she waited for a permanent solution. Finally, just before her 28th birthday, that solution and a much-needed donor heart valve came. Since then, there has been no end to Donna’s aspirations. She now owns a CrossFit gym in Baltimore and finds great pride in helping others achieve their fitness goals.
“My donor has allowed me to live a life that I never knew I could have,” says Donna. “A life without restrictions. It’s because of my tissue donor that I can do all these things that I never thought were possible.”