Wife of a donor
More than twenty years ago, Diane Milbourne, of Schwenksville, PA, got a phone call that no wife ever wants to receive. Her husband, Ed, had been in a fatal car accident on the way to their house in the Poconos. Ed suffered severe head trauma and the family knew that there was no returning from this heartbreaking tragedy.
Ed was the type of person who cared about everyone and was compassionate to the core. His family knew that because of who Ed was, he’d want to be an organ donor and help others. When it was clear there was no longer a way to save Ed’s life, the Milbourne family made the decision to say “yes” to organ and tissue donation ― saving the lives of three others.
Diane said, “Ed being a donor brings our family comfort. He didn’t just die, but he lives on in others and his beautiful spirit continues. Because of the donation, I feel like I can celebrate the life that he’s given to others.”
Diane wrote to Ed’s recipients and never expected to hear back, especially two decades later. Then, she made a connection that filled her with happiness. Ed’s kidney recipient, Dave Swick of Easton, PA, started communicating with her, and they met for the first time last year.
“I can’t thank Diane and Ed enough,” said Dave. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here. I always wanted to meet Diane from day one, but I didn’t know what to say. How do I thank someone for something so big? Now, we call and text each other ― and reach out during the holidays.”
Dave reached a huge milestone last year when he turned 50. He is grateful every day for Ed’s gift and has made the most of his restored health. “I have coached wrestling for 30 years,” Dave said. “My wife and I have traveled the country over the past 20 years, and I haven’t had to worry about dialysis or not having energy. I have a new lease on life since my transplant, and I’ve celebrated my transplant day like a birthday. I want to thank all donor families who say “yes” to donation. People don’t realize the quality of life that recipients can have.”