We have improved the quality of living for hundreds of thousands who have benefitted from tissue transplantation. The following testimonials will provide you some insight into the impact of tissue donation and transplantation.
I started riding horses at age 12 and can still remember my first prize ribbon. But it was that Christmas gift from my mom, my first horse, I remember most. I was state Champion for jumpers in both Alabama and Georgia. I was riding my trainer’s horse and was ready to mount the beautiful mare when, with my left foot in the stirrup, the horse began to buck, I couldn’t gain my balance and was dragged. My knee cartilage and ligament were torn requiring surgery. I opted for a ligament from a donor. I have minimal scarring and my knee is pretty strong. I have organ and tissue donor on my license and feel it’s so important for everyone to be aware of how much they can help others through donation.
Stephen Kelly Knybel
At 22 years old, a diagnosis of surface osteogenic sarcoma could have meant amputation for me. A femoral transplant saved my leg. In addition to resuming my full-time studies as a biology major, I am again active in soccer, golf, water skiing and tennis. I also love music and working on cars. I never thought about tissue donation until I received one. Now I talk to everyone about the importance of organ and tissue donation and how it helped me.
Back in 1995 I was entertaining clients on a hunting trip in Alabama when a tree collapsed, crushing my spine. I couldn’t move. I was in horrible pain and knew my legs were blown out. Five vertebrae were damaged in the accident, requiring extensive surgery. While I was told I wouldn’t walk again, I had faith that I would. I went home to learn a new life as a paraplegic fully confined to my wheelchair. A good friend suggested a bone transplant surgery that may relieve the pain and perhaps enable me to walk. By January of 1996 I was out of the chair, using a walker. I now use hand canes to walk and have hiked the Grinnell Glacier in Montana, love to catch the waves, and enjoy camping with my wife and two children.
I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a cancerous tumor affecting bone and soft tissues. It was a twist of fate! A dog bit me during my regular afternoon run and treatment for those wounds led to discovery of the disease which if left untreated could have been life threatening. Doctors quickly began battling the cancer, the fact remained that the tumor had to be removed. Innovative surgeons used human tissue to replace the bone that I lost with the removal of the tumor, preventing amputation of my leg. I enjoy athletic activities including horseback riding, working out at the gym, boating and belly dancing. I’ve made a full recovery and I’m cancer free.
I am a mother of 4 and have 7 grandchildren. Retirement for my husband of 45 years and I came at a great stage of our lives. I was very active until two years ago when my active life came to a halt; my right leg and arm started going numb and the pain was so unbearable I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t lift anything as I lost all my strength on my right side. I went to Dr. Petersen and he recommended cervical spine surgery utilizing donated bone. He repaired discs 5, 6 and 7 with allograft tissue.
After the surgery I was restrained with a neck brace for several months. Now I am free from the brace, have no pain and move with little effort. I haven’t felt this great in a long time. I am back on the golf course with my husband, I work out and love to read. I will always thank the person who gave so willingly so that others like me could have better lives.
I was diagnosed with sarcoma of the femur in 1993 – a major shock since I had just turned 26, finished my civil engineering degree and had been married for four months. Thanks to aggressive treatment and a bone transplant, I perform all my activities without limitations. I am now a real estate professional and volunteer with LifeLink and children’s cancer support groups. The best gift that we can give to our soul when it leaves our body is to donate our organs and tissues so that other human beings can continue enjoying this beautiful world.
I was born with a congenital heart condition that required surgery before I was even one year old. I lived a fairly normal childhood, however a routine doctor’s visit found a valve that was not functioning properly- and a problem that if left untreated would enlarge my heart and eventually cause it to fail. The only solution was a valve transplant which I received at age 18. Over time I truly came to understand the gift that a family had so generously chosen to share with me and I realized that I must give back. I compete and win pageants with organ and tissue donation as my platform. I also go along with my service dog Yoda to visit residents of assisted living facilities.
Today, I live a well rounded life with my family. I am proudly identified as a mother, wife, teacher, daughter, coach, athlete and friend. A few short years ago, my journey to success was threatened by a severe car accident. I was newly engaged, planning my future, and left with a damaged spine and persistent pain. I quickly became concerned about my ability to have children, coach and fulfill a lifelong dream of running a marathon. Thanks to the generosity of a tissue donor, my life was back on track. In no time at all, I began training- on the advice of my doctor, I was going to rollerblade a marathon not run one. I completed 26.2 miles on inline skates, and also gave birth to sons Spencer and Cooper, who I can now carry without pain. I was given a gift to regain control of my life and begin again.