Michael Debiase and Lisa Rigione

February 13, 2023

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Bangor man saves 6 lives in one day

For 23-year-old Michael Debiase, being hired as an apprentice at a Bangor, Pennsylvania, barber shop gave him a fresh start. 

But after Mike didn’t wake up for work one day, he unknowingly gave six people a fresh start at life. The new husband and dad was rushed to the hospital, where doctors said he was bleeding in his brain. Just like that, he was gone, dying of a cerebral hemorrhage. 

“I said, ‘I want to know about organ donation,'” recalled Lisa Rigione, Mike’s mom. “And the doctor said, ‘Gift of Life has been called. Your son was a registered organ donor.'”

In one day, Mike had saved six lives. That’s when Lisa knew Mike had followed in her footsteps. Years ago, Mike had asked Lisa about organ donation. She told him she was a donor, but that was the last time they had discussed it.

Since then, Lisa has met his kidney recipient, and she hopes to meet his heart recipient someday, too. She also volunteers with Gift of Life and is a bigger advocate for organ donation than ever. 

“There’s no greater gift than to save somebody’s life,” Lisa said. “How many people can say they saved six lives?”