Donate Life {on a side note…}


April is National Donate Life month.  This doesn’t mean a lot to most people, but to our family, it does.  Five years ago, my mom fell very ill with Autoimmune Hepatitis.  She went to many doctors until being finally referred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN who gave her her diagnosis.  Her only hope for survival was a liver transplant. 

Five years ago TODAY, she received her liver from an anonymous donor.  She now travels around North Dakota and Minnesota (as a volunteer for Lifesource) and speaks to high school students and adults about the importance of organ donation.

My mom never got a chance to get to know my daughter, Nora, who passed away shortly after her transplant, because she was sick for most of Nora’s short life. But, thanks to her new liver, she has been able to hold three new grandchild and watch her other grandchildren grow up.

This picture is my family (minus Annika – who knew she was already growing in my tummy?!) shortly after my mom’s transplant. 


When Nora passed away, I had the difficult decision to make about organ and tissue donation for her.  I received the phone call shortly after she passed away.  It was not a phone call that I wanted to take, but it was one that I needed to take.  I knew that an anonymous donor had saved my mom’s life, and donating Nora’s heart valves would be the best gift she could give.

Organ donation has impacted my life in so many ways.  I am a donor, are you?

Here are some facts about organ and tissue donation:

Source: Lifesource

1. Your Life is Always First

If you are taken to the hospital after an accident or injury, it is the hospital’s number one priority to save YOUR life. Your status as a donor is not even considered until every effort has been made to try to save your life and death has been declared.

2. Everyone Has the Potential to be an Organ and Tissue Donor

Your age or health should not prevent you from registering to be an organ or tissue donor.  Most health conditions do not prevent donation and age is not a factor – the oldest organ donor was 92!

3. All Faiths Agree

All major religions in the United States support organ and tissue donation and consider it a generous act of caring.

4. There is No Cost to Your Family

If you decide to be an organ and tissue donor, your family will NOT have to pay for any medical expenses associated with the donation.

5. One Life can save up to 60

One person can save and heal up to 60 lives through organ and tissue donation!

6. Everyone is Equal

When it comes to waiting in line for an organ transplant, we are all created equal. Wealthy or famous individuals cannot and do not get bumped up higher on the national transplant waiting list. Factors such as blood type, body size, location, severity of illness and length of time on the waiting list are used to determine the best candidate for an organ.

7. Your Decision Will Be Honored

When you register to become an organ and tissue donor you are making a legal decision and, even after your death, your decision will be honored.  It’s important to talk with your family to make sure they are prepared to honor your decision at the time of your death.

8.  If You Don’t Make a Decision, Your Family Will

If you haven’t registered to be an organ and tissue donor your family will be asked to make a decision about donation on your behalf.  Therefore, it is incredibly important that you have a conversation about donation and share your wishes with your loved ones.

9. You’ll be treated With Respect

Organ and tissue donors are heroes and are treated as such.  The medical professionals who perform the recovery surgeries treat donors with the utmost respect, just like they would for any other patient. If you and your family were planning on an open casket funeral before death, these plans should not be affected by organ and tissue donation.

10. Registering is Easy

Registering to become an organ and tissue donor is simple. You can register right now, online, in Minnesota and North Dakota and by mail in South Dakota.  Or you can check the box to register to be a donor when you apply for or renew your driver’s license, state identification card or learner’s permit.

Other Resources:



  1. I have always believed in donated my organs. What a gift you can give to someone else! Thank you for sharing your touching story. It reminds me of how important it is and I hope others feel the same.

  2. You and your family are amazing inside and out. Thank you for bringing awareness to such a beautiful way to honor someone's life.

    Curls and a Smile

  3. I walked in the American Heart Walk this morning with a four year old that received a heart transplant when he was less than a year old. He is our little miracle and I will forever be thankful for the family that had to make that difficult choice. Organ Donors ROCK!!!!!!

  4. I just donated my kidney to someone unknown to me and that person's significant other (also unknown to me) donated their kidney to my husband. We are 5 weeks out of surgery and my husband is feeling great. My 7 year old does not remember any time when her daddy wasn't sick. Organ donation is a true blessing to all, not just the recipients!! Thank you for bringing light to this subject!!!

  5. I am like you. Donating my organs never occurred to me until I had a family member who needed an organ. Unfortunately, the organ came to late and my loved one never woke up from the surgery. Now I feel that organ donation is a very important and beautiful act. Once you are gone, the lives of others may be saved because of a decision that you have made. That should be an easy decision. Thank you for posting about this very important subject.

  6. How odd that I found your link through Pinterest and landed on your story about organ donation. My daughter received a new heart last August at the age of 2 1/2 and we can not express enough how grateful we are to the whole donation process. My daughter could not walk up our stairs beforehand and is now taking an hour long ballet/tap dancing class and is able to go to the park afterwards. I am so sorry for your loss! I wish you could have had forever with your little girl, but thank you for bravely choosing to save another life in the midst of your grief. XO!!!

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