In June 1995, Susan McVey Dillon rushed to the hospital when she heard the news that her 14-year-old son, Michael, had been in a traumatic accident. Sadly, Michael suffered irreversible brain damage, but even in the midst of overwhelming grief, Susan knew she wanted to help give others a second chance at life. Susan turned her grief into advocacy for organ donation.
“We had talked about it as a family when my daughter Janette got her driver’s license, so we knew it was what Michael wanted,” says Susan. “We knew that if the only thing Michael needed to come home was a kidney, we would expect one to be available. So, we felt that we had to be willing to give one.”
Michael provided five gifts – his liver and both kidneys were perfect matches for recipients in need of a life-saving transplant. His corneas gave the gift of sight to a college student. Husbands returned home to their wives and families; sons returned home to their mothers. As Susan notes, “Organ donation does not just save a person. It saves families.”
Nearly ten years after her son’s death, Susan joined the faculty of the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative in 2004, a national effort to increase organ donation rates. In 2007, Susan was honored with the James S. Wolf Courage Award, given by Donate Life America to recognize individuals who have played a significant national role in educating the public about organ and tissue donation.
An organ donor’s story goes on and on. So can yours. Register today to change lives tomorrow.