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Touched by Organ Donation: Outlasting the Final Breath

My name is Jill Stephenson. I am a donor sister and mother. In July of 1982, my eleven-year old brother, J.T. was struck by a car and killed instantly. Two cars behind the one that hit him was a highway patrolman who administered CPR and saved him, temporarily.

Unfortunately, he was declared brain dead and removed from life support ten days later. Those ten days on life support helped prepare him to give the gift of life to strangers. When the doctors asked my family to consider donation we didn’t hesitate. We knew that if J.T. was able to make that decision for himself, he would have.

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Fighting Finn: A Mother Shares Her Son's Story of Miraculous Life

Written by Kelly Blumenthal, Finn's mother

Finn was born on January 2, 2015, with a rare combination of heart defects. He spent the first 8 months of his life at UVA Children's Hospital in Charlottesville, Va enduring 10 surgeries including one open heart surgery. 

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How My Life Was Saved By an Organ Donor - My Five Organ Transplant

Please note: This story was originally published on May 27th, 2015. 


Written By: Carissa Haston, Transplant Recipient

It was about midnight on March 12, 2006 when my life changed forever: I was at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center awaiting a life saving transplant. Earlier that day I had been admitted with fluctuating blood pressure and I was a scrawny 62 pounds. I had days, if not just hours, left to live. 

Due to gastroparesis and chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, two gastrointestinal conditions which lead to paralysis of the GI tract, I had not eaten in 12 years. I relied on nutrition through IV lines (something known as TPN), but with so many near-fatal blood infections from the central lines, I had lost most of my veins and they were losing the ability to feed me anymore. As a complication of TPN, my liver was failing. 

For 13 months I had waited for a transplant of my stomach, small bowel, pancreas, liver, and duodenum. 

Photo: Carissa's Outlive Yourself Pledge is to "advocate for cures for others!" How will you #outliveyourself?

Waiting and Hoping

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A Global Gift: How One Woman Discovered Taylor’s Story and Was Inspired to Act

Growing up in an environment where hospitals and doctors become a part of your life can be pretty depressing. This experience has partly turned me into the woman I am now.

My mom, at 46, lost her battle with cancer when I was 15. Shortly afterward, my dad, at 66, would have needed a new heart. The doctors decided against a transplant. He went through five bypasses instead, which worked for some time until he suffered another heart attack and his organs failed.

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Banding Together: The Importance of Organ Donation

One donor can save up to eight lives. Yet organ donation is rarely discussed because of the  hesitancy to discuss matters evoking the end of life. The nature of Taylor’s story has begun to transform the conversation, bringing about a shift in perception to reveal that donor registration is an empowering act of living.

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A Sister's Story Celebrating the Beautiful Life of Abbye Irons

A note from Taylor's Gift Foundation team: We were so honored for Kate Dorff to be the 2015 Outlive Yourself Awards Event Chair and were equally inspired by her family's commitment to raise awareness and support of organ donation. In this post, Kate shares the beautiful story of her sister's life. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of Abbye's loving family and friends as they celebrate her beautiful life. 

Written by Kate Dorff, Recipient Family Member

Our story is different. How I wish the last paragraph of this post would end with you reading about my sister, Abbye, and the restoration of life that came with the gift of a new heart. Instead, this ending is going to be hard to read. It will most likely shake you to your core; leave you staring at your computer, wishing for an answer to one of life’s most infamous questions: why do bad things happen to good people? You might shake your fists at the sky or find your mouth hanging wide open with utter shock as you try and process the narrative. The main character is my twenty-eight year old sister who, in 2011, at age twenty-three, was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy. This diagnosis catapulted Abbye, my mom, and me down a road ending in our present circumstances; I wish we had taken a wrong turn along the way.

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Organ Donation's Biggest Fan: Clutch "The Rockets Bear"

Written by Robert Boudwin, aka Clutch "The Rockets Bear"

In 2011 after my Dad had suffered for four years from IPF - a degenerative and terminal lung disease that has no known cure or treatment - his health was getting rapidly worse and the only solution left was a lung transplant. Knowing that someone you love is in need of an organ transplant is a nerve wracking experience. Because organs are in high demand and short supply, doctors must ensure that organs go to those patients who can benefit the most. To be a candidate you need to be sick enough to significantly benefit from a transplant, but not so sick that the transplant won’t help if there are other problems. The only thing we could do was hope and pray for a donor before things got worse.

(Photo: With my now wife Amy after running

13.1 miles for organ donation)

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Give a Gift That Means More: Give the Gift of Life

What's a gift you can give that means a little bit more? The gift of life, of course. 

This Christmas we encourage you to give the greatest gift by registering to be an organ donor. One single donor can save up to EIGHT lives. Oh, and while you're home for the holidays, be sure to talk to your loved ones about your life-saving decision to be an organ donor. 

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Shedding Light Upon Fear and Uncertainty: A Transplanted Life

Written by Noah Swanson, a Liver Transplant Recipient

It was several years before I realized where the shadow was coming from. Until then, I feared a strange man with a large nose lurked somewhere in my basement waiting to jump out from around the corner. I still remember the dread I experienced every time I walked down the stairs that led to the basement in the house I grew up. The way the light came through the window caused a peculiar shadow to be displayed against the wall.  

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Share the Hope of Organ Donation in Your Faith Community

Learn more about National Donor Sabbath and how YOU can get involved in your faith community! Did you celebrate National Donor Sabbath last year? Be sure to leave a comment sharing how you made an impact in your community.

1. What is National Donor Sabbath?

A Friday through Sunday observance for faith leaders from various religions to help educate the public about the importance of organ donation two weekends before Thanksgiving.

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