Philadelphia Donor Family, Transplant Recipients Meet and Celebrate Thanksgiving

November 21, 2016

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — On Saturday, November 19, as Philadelphians prepare for the holiday, three families that are connected forever met for their own Thanksgiving meal at the Gift of Life Family House. The family of organ donor, Ethan Moyer, as well as organ transplant recipients, 6-year-old Josie Crawn and 72-year-old Ellie Doerr, sat down together with their families to share what they are thankful for.

Linda and Ron Moyer lost their son, Ethan, in a car accident in 2010. But Ethan’s generous decision to give the gift of life means that he lives on in the seven lives of the people he saved through organ donation, as well through the countless others these individuals touch. 

Ellie Doerr and Josie Crawn are two of these people, who received Ethan’s lungs and part of his liver, respectively. (The families are also close with another recipient, Alberta Peters, who received a part of his liver as well, but had previous commitment volunteering at a nearby soup kitchen.)

As a result of Ethan’s decision to become an organ donor, the families today have a strong bond with one another and see each other regularly. Six-year-old Josie even served as flower girl in Ethan’s sister’s wedding. They gathered to give thanks for the loved ones in their lives and to consider how every person saved by organ donation impacts countless other people. They are encouraging everyone to register as organ and tissue donors.

“Today and every day we remember Ethan. He made the decision to donate and brought hope to seven people including Josie and Ellie, and Alberta who couldn’t make it today,” said Linda Moyer. “Be the change, be a donor.”

“I am forever grateful for the gift that Josie received from Ethan. Because of his selflessness and willingness to register as an organ donor, our daughter was given a second chance at life. And that is the greatest gift that anyone could ever hope to receive from another person,” said Jamie Crawn, mother of Josie.

“I can enjoy this holiday season because someone made the decision to register as an organ and tissue donor. I’m thankful for every day of my life that I can spend with friends and family. Together, we will honor Ethan’s life in the best way possible: with love and gratitude,” said Ellie Doerr.

Together, the Moyers, Crawns and Doerrs joined with Gift of Life Donor Program to ask Pennsylvanians to register as organ and tissue donors.

“Thanksgiving is a special time where families gather to share their love and celebrate all that they hold most dear. This year, the community has a unique opportunity to come together for the holiday season and share their gratitude by registering as organ and tissue donors and by showing support for the 8,500 people in Pennsylvania who are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, and are unsure if this Thanksgiving will be the last one that they spend with loved ones,” said Dwendy Johnson, Community Relations Team Leader at Gift of Life.

Saturday’s meal took place at the Gift of Life Family House, which provides a “home away from home” for the transplant patients and their families who are receiving transplant-related care at one of Philadelphia’s eight transplant centers.

More than 8,500 Pennsylvania residents are currently on the waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant, showing the critical need for more individuals to register. Each organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives and enhance up to 50 more lives. Anyone — regardless of age or medical history — can sign up to be a donor. There is no cost to donors and their families, all major religions in the United States support organ donation and consider donation as a final act of love and generosity toward others. It only takes 30 seconds to register at the website: donatelifepa.org/registration.

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About Donate Life PA

Donate Life PA is a collaborative initiative between Gift of Life Donor Program (GOL), the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) — the two organ procurement organizations serving Pennsylvania — and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Transportation. It is funded by state residents through voluntary contributions included with driver's license renewals, vehicle registrations and state income tax filings. All contributions are used by the Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund to educate residents, build awareness about the importance of organ & tissue donation and increase the number of people who sign up to become donors on their driver's license, learner's permit or state identification card. Visit us at DonateLifePA.org or at Facebook.com/DonateLifePennsylvania.

About the Gift of Life Donor Program (GOL)

Since 1974, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 42,000 organ transplants and an estimated 600,000 tissue transplants. Gift of Life’s service area includes nearly 11 million people throughout the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware, and in 2015 the organization coordinated over 44 organ donors-per-million-population, ranking it among the highest in the world. For more information about organ and tissue donation or to register today, visit donors1.org. It only takes 30 seconds to register.