Lori Keener’s husband, Matthew, gave the greatest gift of all to multiple families for Christmas 2018: the gift of life.
Lori and Matthew, who was 43 at the time, were having lunch when he said he didn’t feel well. He stepped away to the restroom and never returned. Matthew had suffered a catastrophic brain bleed; although taken to a local hospital, he passed away on Christmas Eve, leaving Lori and their 6-month-old son, Ryan.
Despite the tragedy and her grief, Lori, of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, finds comfort in the fact that her husband was able to help six others through his generous gift of life. Especially poignant during Healthy Lung Month, the donor hero donated not only his lungs but his heart, other major organs, cornea and tissue.
“While we didn’t get our miracle that day, we know he was a Christmas miracle for so many others,” she said. “My son will grow up only knowing of his father so for us it’s really important for my son to know daddy was a superhero; he chose to save other people’s lives.”
Every 10 minutes, someone new is added to the national transplant waiting list. Just one donor hero can save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of another 75.
Shortly after Matthew’s death, Lori registered to be an organ donor and now encourages people to do the same.
“It’s so important for me and donor families to remember we did get a miracle that day. Those miracles may not have been our miracles,” Lori said, noting they took what was a devastating situation and “turned it into something filled with hope.”
“When Ryan gets older and starts to understand, I want him to know his daddy lives on.”
It take just a minute to register as a donor by visiting donatelifepa.org