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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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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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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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How One Minute Changed My Life - How I Became a Registered Organ Donor

Written by Hailey Derby, Taylor's Gift Intern

My name is Hailey Derby and I am a 22-year-old senior at the University of North Texas. I’m a normal college student trying to finish school, in that phase of realizing that life as I know it will change very soon. Being an adult is in the very near future. Between a full class load and working full time, it is hard to find time for much else, whether that is trying to maintain a normal social life or finding time to get involved in my community. Thankfully, one of my courses has made it easier to become involved in my community. For my public relations course, we were given the assignment to work with a non-profit organization all semester. Thus began my involvement with Taylor’s Gift Foundation.

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My kidneys quit, but I won't give up; I'll look for a living kidney donor

Written by Zach Becker, Dysfunctional Kidney Owner

Today was a good leg day.

That sounds like something I'd say after walking out of the gym high fiving my bros, but today I didn't go to the gym, and no high fives were had. Today, I was able to walk up and down stairs. It was a good leg day.

My name is Zach and in April of this year I was diagnosed with a form of IGA Nephropathy (Berger’s Disease) and since it has aggressively attacked my kidneys and left me with only one option: To find a living kidney donor.

When people talk about “The List”, they’re talking about a what is commonly referred to as a list of people waiting on cadaveric (deceased folks) organs, or kidneys, in this case. I am currently on the list. The wait, in St. Louis, at current, is three and a half years. Living donors allow people like me a chance at both a quicker turn around for transplantation, as well as the fact that kidneys from living donors last much longer than cadaveric kidneys (on average five to seven years longer).

I’ve always seen people on TV cry when they get bad news from a doctor. I didn’t cry. Was I broken? Did my eyes stop working too? No. I was motivated, immediately, to get well. My gears started turning…

I got up from my hospital bed, went to a domain site, discovered that zachskidney.com was available, and so I bought it. And so began my journey to find a living kidney donor.

What now?

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I never thought about organ donation... until the day my son lost his life

Written by Nanette Pace, Donor Mom

Thank you for letting me share CJ’s story with you.

Prior to October of 2004, I had no idea what organ donation was about. Never thought about it, spoke about or heard about it. Until of course the day we were faced with it!

Even as a young child, Chris always joked around and loved life. He played softball as a boy and football through his sophomore year in high school. Fast cars, collecting hot wheels, and fishing were his favorite hobbies. He once caught a large bass on a piece of bubble gum that he had grown tired of chewing. His collection of hot wheels is quite impressive, dating back to the late 80’s and early 90’s and still in their original little packages.

Photo: A photo of CJ that sits on my desk

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