I can't say enough wonderful things about the Iowa Donor Network and their system for handling this process. Their communication with me did not stop that day. I've received several phone calls...just checking in to see how I'm doing or if I have any questions. There is also regular communication by mail...offering grief resources for any of the family members. In September we received a letter stating that two people with serious eye issues had been given the gift of sight after receiving cornea transplants from Don's donation gift.
On Thursday I received another letter from the Iowa Donor Network. As I opened it, I saw a brochure and at first thought it was likely marketing materials. Upon reading the enclosed letter, I realized that we had just received our first communication from a donor recipient. That letter...tucked inside its own sealed envelope...with instructions to open it at a time that's best for you. I was instantly in tears. Not the quiet ones...full on raging sobs hit me within seconds.
Our letter, was from a 71 year old gentleman, who had suffered a very bad broken leg and ankle that had been complicated by infection. "Because of your family's donation, I have a chance to save my foot and leg and to walk again", he wrote.
I'm not sure how to describe what it's like to have a heart that feels so broken and yet rejoices at the same time. This is exactly the type of patient that Don spent his entire life dedicated to treating as a Physical Therapist. There is a great joy in knowing that his work in helping others is continuing because of his donation.
If you'd like more information on becoming an organ donor, I encourage you to click here to be redirected to one of the national Organ Donor sites.
To honor Don's dedication to working with others as a Physical Therapist, our family has also started a scholarship in his name at North Iowa Area Community College, specific to the Physical Therapy Assistant Program. We are so very thankful for recent donations from Iowa Specialty Hospitals in Clarion and Belmond, Iowa where Don was employed. Anyone wishing to donate is encouraged to contact Andrea Mujica at firstname.lastname@example.org.