Melvin Protzman

Melvin Protzman

After losing her 24-year-old son, Brian, in a car accident, Mary Grace Hensell was overwhelmed with grief. It was not until she began talking to her son’s heart recipient that Mary started her journey on the path towards healing. The two spoke on the phone for over four hours about Brian and the miracle of his gift.

“Losing a child is the hardest thing a parent can endure. But I am thankful to know that my son lives on because of his generous heart,” Hensell said.

The pair decided they wanted to meet in-person, so a dinner was arranged for Thanksgiving. Two other recipients of Brian’s attended the sit-down, as well. There, Hensell told stories about her son’s life and his passions. She brought photo albums to share with the organ recipients to illustrate Brian’s life. They bonded over the gift of life and the power that memories hold.

Now a strong advocate for organ donation, Melvin shares, “I am thankful for every day and for every single breath,” he said. “Because one man made the selfless and heroic decision to give the gift of life, I get to be with my family.”

Melvin and Hensell still maintain a great relationship. This past April, they participated in a flag-raising ceremony together to share about Brian’s life and raise awareness for donation during National Donate Life Month.

Register today to be an organ donor and your story goes on and on.