On November 1, 2008, Joey’s father walked his only child down the aisle. With tears in his eyes, he kissed her and “gave her away.” On December 15,2008, he died. He had not told the Joey he had terminal cancer and was not expected to live much longer. He didn’t want to spoil her special day. That was Joey’s dad, always giving and thinking of others. On the night he died, Joey was distraught. Then she got a phone call saying they couldn’t use his organs since they were riddled with cancer, but they could use his eyes. His big, blue eyes. That was the greatest comfort, knowing that her dad’s generosity gave 2 other people the gift of sight.
April 3, 2011 I was doing some gardening the next morning I awoke with numbness & tingling from my right hip to my toes with excruciating pain. It took nearly six weeks for me to find a doctor willing to help me. The pain eventually subsided and I learned to walk without much feeling in my leg and foot when in late May of the same year my youngest son told me he’d been having diarrhea for nearly two weeks.
We were in and out of doctors’ offices, Children’s Hospital, and labs for the next several weeks when he began to deteriorate. He’d lost 60lbs in a relatively short period time and he started to pass what appeared to be strictly blood. Finally, one of the doctors ran a test and found that he had C.Dif. and was nearing death. Antibiotics were ordered and he soon started to feel better when on July 13, 2011 at 2:30 am I got the call no mother should ever have to get! “Are you the mother of Anthony Nami?” yes. “He’s been in a car fire and we’re preparing him to be transferred to the Mobile Burn Unit.” He was burned over 21% of his body requiring several skin graph surgeries.
He was kept in a coma until the morning of July 25. His brothers and I were then preparing the house for him to recuperate all day Friday July 29 when Salvatore had to leave for work. He worked at a fast food restaurant in Lakeside Mall and had to be at work for 5pm that day. He rode his bike from our home off Cleary Ave to the Mall. At 8pm I received a phone call from the manager at his work. She told me that Salvatore couldn’t talk. I thought to myself “well, why doesn’t he just say he wants to go home, why the drama.” Then she started to tell me that he couldn’t use his right side and the ambulance was there trying to assess his situation. I asked her to put him on the phone but unfortunately she didn’t tell me she did and all I managed to do was upset him as he couldn’t respond.
At the hospital tests showed that his brain started to bleed in the very center deep within. Surgery started at 12am until 4am when the surgeon called to tell me that he might not make it. He was the only doctor that told me that; the others told me there was lots of hope. I now had two sons in I.C.U. but in two different states. One son was awake and improving and the other asleep. I didn’t want to believe that Salvatore wouldn’t make it. He was strong willed and determined. In fact, the doctors asked me not to come up to see him because when I did it was causing him to get too excited and they wanted to limit his brain activity. On the morning of August 11 the doctor called and told me to get there as soon as I could. My world shattered. My beautiful son was dead.
I turned to the staff and asked if I could donate his organs and within a short time after signing all the papers they came in to tell me that seven people were matched and one was an 8 month old baby in need of a liver. My tears of sorrow immediately turned to joy. I got goose bumps all over my body. I thought to myself here I am begging God to give me my son and seven people and their loved ones were praying for the very same thing that my ONE child could help grant. It was a very powerful feeling. My son didn’t quite make it to live 18 years in this world but, look at what he did accomplish. About a week later, I received a certificate and a thank you letter from the eye bank for the return of sight for two more people. I was an advocate for organ donation before, but today I’d like to tell every living person to give this gift. It’s the most selfless selfish gift I’ve ever had the pleasure to give.
I can’t have my son back but look what his death did do. He’s not just rotting in the ground somewhere he’s living in NINE people!!! I wish I could tell the world that they don’t kill you for your organs nor do they pay you for them as it’s a donation. I’d like to clear all the rumors and see people educated on this subject. So many lost lives because of ignorance!! My son died, life support couldn’t have kept him alive as he’d lost his life already and life support does just that supports life. No one slipped money in my hands. I didn’t hear anyone say that they’d like to get his organs. There really was no mention at all of it. In fact, I got a little more than a day to sit with him because I donated his body. I’d like to think that Salvatore is happy to have helped so many people.
Rev. Antonio, Kidney Donor
I donated a kidney to Sue on 3/24/03. On 3/25/06, she accepted my marriage proposal.
I was working in the Transplant Department at Ochsner Hospital when Sue was diagnosed with Renal Failure. This event was an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of love in action. Being trained in Mental Health Counseling and being a Minister, allowed me to experience and share the benefits of love in scripture.
It is a life changing event. Every time I look at Sue, I see the benefits and blessings of being a living-organ donor.
To read Sue’s story, click here.