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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

So Many Ways to Do Good and Change Lives

Organ and Cornea Donor

Shortly after celebrating her 32nd wedding anniversary, 53-year-old Anne collapsed from a brain aneurysm. As her family waited anxiously in the hospital that February, they overheard another family, whose young child had just died, discuss donation of their child’s organs.

Anne had never discussed organ donation with her family, but then and there, her family decided that donation would be a meaningful way to realize some good from this tragedy.

Anne's kidneys, liver and heart helped four people to have a future, while her donation of eyes gave four people improved vision through cornea and sclera transplants. Countless others will benefit from the research enabled by the donation of her other organs.

A year after her death, Anne’s widower Ronald met Ruth, whose husband Curt had also succumbed to a brain aneurysm. Ruth, too, had donated her spouse’s organs and eyes. Married in 2006, Ronald and Ruth now volunteer regularly together on behalf of organ donation.

In 2009, Donate Life sponsored a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade®. The “Stars of Life” featured transplant recipients, living donors, and family members of deceased donors immersed in a spectacular shower of stars representing all the people who make the gift of life possible.

Among the float's "Stars of Life" were 30 gold stars with floragraphs—artistic portraits created with floral materials—depicting loved ones whose donations of organs, corneas, or tissue saved and healed those in need. Two of the floragraphs were of Minnesota donors Curt and Anne, who had transformed so many lives.

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This video features Caitlin, saved by a liver transplant when she was 5 months old.