What is Tissue Donation?
Most people are familiar with what it means to be an organ donor. You can also save and heal others through tissue donation. In fact, you might be the recipient of a tissue donation without even knowing it!
Signing up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor after death means that you have said yes to donating your organs, eyes (cornea) and tissues after death. Tissue donation includes the donation of cornea, heart valves, skin, veins, tendons and bones. Medical professionals will determine what can be donated at that time and then the recovery process begins.
Tissue donation is an amazing gift where just one person can save and heal more than 75 lives! Yes, we said you can help more than 75 people in need by being a tissue donor after death. Each year, thousands of people are healed by tissue donations and become tissue recipients in our region alone!
Donated Tissue Heals in Many Ways
Through our community outreach, we have the honor of meeting lots of people within our two-state region who have a connection to donation. Even in our personal lives, we cross paths with people who have a donation story to share. It is amazing how big the circle of connection grows with each donor, donor family and recipient.
Often we meet people who do not even realize that they are tissue recipients. From healing tendons for ACL and other sport injuries repair, to bone for dental procedures, to healing skin for burn victims, tissue donation heals in numerous ways.
Check out just some of the ways tissue donation can benefit others below.
Local Stories of Tissue Donors & Tissue Recipients
Yazmina, Tissue Recipient and Donor Family Member
Yazmina was just a young girl when the many dental procedures began. After years of braces and retainers and other procedures, she was finally able to confidently smile because of a bone graft and dental implant surgery. The bone was from a deceased donor. This gift of life has allowed her to live fully and share her beautiful smile with others.
«Because of a stranger who said yes to donation, I can smile now. The gift I received has given me confidence to live my life fully. I smile all the time now.»
Julie, Donor Mother of Son, Evan, an Organ, Cornea and Tissue Donor
Julie lost her son, Evan, when he was 19 years old in a tragic accident. He was known for his beautiful smile, the mischievous «Irish» twinkle in his eye, his contagious laugh, his loyalty and his kind giving nature. The pain of losing a child is immense, yet, Julie found a rare positive amidst her grief because of Evan’s decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor.
«Through his tissue donations Evan healed 33 people and gave two people sight. His decision to register to become an organ and tissue donor has impacted so many lives, including my own. A month after Evan’s accident we traveled to Ireland to scatter his ashes, he was so proud of his Irish heritage and had always hoped to visit one day. We returned home to find a letter from the Rocky Mountain Lyons Eye Bank with the status of Evan’s cornea recipients, halfway down the page I read, “Evan’s left cornea was placed with a man residing in Ireland and his sight was successfully restored.” There are no words to adequately describe how reading that letter impacted me, even today as I reflect on that moment. The legacy he has left is profound and I honor it every day, he is my hero.»
Mary, Tissue Recipient and Spouse of a Tissue Donor
Mary was an active person, often hiking and running with her husband, Eric. After several ACL injuries requiring surgery and deceased donor tissue, Mary was facing another repair in 2020. Months after her husband’s sudden and tragic passing, Mary requested her husband’s donated tissue be used to repair her damaged ACL.
“As much as I would rather have my husband with me, now I have a piece of him forever with me.”
Are You A Tissue Recipient?
It’s possible because of the many ways tissue donation can heal those in need that you or someone you know are a tissue recipient. We hear it all the time, “I must be a tissue recipient then. I had no idea!” It’s time to share gratitude and honor the heroic and selfless decision of the tissue donor and their family.
If you have realized that you or a loved one are a tissue recipient and want to share your story with us, please reach out today. Through this blog, you may have also learned more about the possible healing of your loved one’s tissue donations. Connect with our Aftercare team to learn more about your loved one’s donation and recipients.
If you are ready to have an impact and save others through tissue donation, register your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, don’t wait! Sign up today here.