Also see: Gratitude and Other articles on tissue/organ donation: April is Donate Life Month | Doug Zimmerman's Gift of Life | The Ultimate in Recycling - Organ Donation | Donor family gathering | Real people helped by Doug's gift | Where in the world is Doug Zimmerman?
Doug bowling with coconuts on the beach in Florida in February 2010,
Life still flows through the tissues he donated to others.
LifeChoice is the incredible organization that arranged for Doug's bone and tissue donation. At my request, they met me at the Emergency Room to start the process, just hours after he died. They have been there for support ever since. Their mission is wonderful, and their staff are thoughtful, caring and sensitive. I have never seen anything like it. When I am struggling to understand loss, tissue donation is one of the only things that makes sense to me.
LifeChoice sent the letter in response to our family's request for an update on Doug's tissue donation. Here is what they were able to tell us:
"Tissue donation is a very special gift and can enhance the lives of many individuals. to date, over 60 patients have been helped through Doug's bone donation. The surgeries were varied, and took place in many hospitals in the United States. At this time, we do know that the following recipients have received the gift of Doug's bone donation."
The list includes men and women age 19-71, from Connecticut, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Louisiana, Washington, Florida, Michigan, Kansas and California.
"Doug's saphenous veins have not yet been transplanted. As you may remember, donated tissue can be stored until it is needed for transplant."
The 68 year old female that was transplanted in Connecticut and the 87 year old female transplanted in California who received Doug's corneas are both reported to be doing well with no problems or complications.
"As always, we hope this information will help to reinforce for you the wonderful "gift of life" Doug has given and the special legacy that he continues to leave. The recipients, their families, and the professionals with whom they work will always be grateful."
Doug hated to waste things - he had that Yankee Farmer/Scottish frugality that drove him to reuse and recycle every day. I think he would be proud that HE is being reused and recycled to benefit others.
For me, for once, this isn't about wishing for something that can never be - and believe me, I've done plenty of that. This miraculous program has enabled Doug to continue to make a difference to real people. All because he filled out a form and told me that he wanted to be an organ or tissue donor.
I will always carry sadness as a result of Doug's loss. Today, I am lifted up by both gladness and gratitude.
July 2, 2011
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