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12 Incredible Stories Of Life-Saving Organ Donations

February 14th is National Donor Day. These inspiring stories demonstrate the true heroism of donating.

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1. Cameron Lyle, a college track athlete, chose to end his career to donate bone marrow to a stranger.

Boston Globe/Contributor / Getty Images

Lyle, a 1 in 5,000,000 match to a young man with acute lymphoblastic lymphoma, generously gave up his shot-put career to save a stranger.

2. Tom Walter, the head coach of baseball at Wake Forest, donated his kidney to one of his players.

AP Photo /John Bazemore / Via

When freshman player Kevin Jordan's kidney function dropped below 8 %, coach Tom Walter stepped forward. Now both are healthy, baseball-obsessed, and "joined at the hip."

3. Evan Hauk, a fun-loving and outdoorsy 13-year-old, posthumously donated his corneas, allowing two others to see.

To prepare for a fishing trip with his father, Evan Hauk was tragically electrocuted by a 110 volt electric prod used to gather earthworms. When he was pronounced dead at the hospital, his parents made the decision to donate Evan's corneas. Because of Evan, two people are now able to see.

4. Eduardo Camargo lost 40 pounds in two months in order to save his daughter.


Jazlyn Camargo was diagnosed with biliary atresia shortly after birth. Eduardo knew immediately he wanted to donate, but was excluded because of his high weight. Amazingly, he dropped 40 pounds in under eight weeks to be able to donate his liver to his daughter.

5. Ronald Burke donated a kidney to his son after his wife's donated kidney failed.

After Leonard Burke was diagnosed with hypertension and kidney failure in 2008, he received a transplant from his wife Rhonda. When that organ failed a few years later, his father Ronald donated one of his own, saving his son's life.

6. Tracey Vogen and Dawn Strand joined together to donate their livers to their neighbor, Darren Conrad.

Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune / MCT

When Conrad's wife, Nancy, reached out to the community in desperation to save her husband, these two neighbors were screened. Though Vogen's donation was halted because of scarring on her liver, surgeons were successfully able to transplant portions of Strand's.

7. Kindergarden teacher Wendy Killian donated her kidney to her student.

As the health of Nicole Miller, a first-grader with a genetic disorder that caused kidney malformation, began to decline, her doctors scrambled to find a matching donor. When it was determined that her parents were not suitable, Nicole's teacher from the previous year chose to donate to save her student, who she refers to as "Sunshine Girl", to save her life.

8. Father Jonathan Goertz donated his kidney to parishioner Bruce McComb.

Bruce McComb, whose first transplant from his wife Mimi was unsuccessful in 2002, was blown away when Father Jonathan Goertz approached him on Palm Sunday, offering him a new chance at life.

9. Erica Tomlinson, surprised neighbor Renee Ly with a kidney donation after having all the necessary tests done before telling her.

When Renee Ly was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a rare liver disease, her future looked bleak. Her young neighbor, Erica Tomlinson secretly took all of the necessary clearance tests and, when she found she was a suitable match, surprised Ly with both a new kidney and newfound chance at life.

10. A teacher, Terry Roberts, donated her kidney to ailing Army Specialist Daniel Ruckel.

When Ruckel suffered from a traumatic brain injury while serving in Afghanistan, he received heavy duty painkillers, which later damaged both of his kidneys. When Roberts, who has a few military ties herself, saw his story, she felt compelled to be tested. Her donation, "both personal and patriotic", saved Ruckel's life.

11. 58-year-old Julia Navarro served as a gestational surrogate for her daughter.

Lorena McKinnon and her husband had been trying to have a baby for years. After having suffered about a dozen miscarriages, the couple began looking for a surrogate. Her mother stepped in immediately, saying, "As a family, we have to help each other."

12. Patti Szuber posthumously saved her father's life by donating her heart.

Chester Szuber underwent three separate bypass surgeries, with the last one leading to a massive heart attack on the operating table. Sadly, his daughter was critically injured in a car accident. When it was determined to be fatal, the doctors wanted to transplant her heart to her father. After waiting on the transplant list for four years, Chester Szuber was offered a second chance at life by his beloved daughter.

February 14th is National Donor Day.

Jurgen Ziewe / Getty Images

This day is focused on five points of life: organs, tissues, marrow, platelets, and blood. Currently, 121,187 people are waiting for an organ.

Check out the National Organ Donor Site to find out how you can help!

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