Together. Saving Lives.

Debbie’s Legacy of Love: Honoring Her Gift of Life Through Organ Donation

Organ Donor Debbie standing with kids at an NC State event

My mother, Debbie, was my hero even before her organs were donated. She had just turned 59-years-old and was retired from years of working in logistics. Her favorite hobby was anything involving her three grandbabies. She was proud to tell you she hardly went a day without seeing them. She was always a giver, putting others before herself. She was a friend to everyone she met.

Debbie had decided to join the gym with her family to get healthy. She had just finished signing her year membership when she had a stroke.  After a long night, we were told that she would not make it.  As we struggled with how to say goodbye, my 13-year-old daughter reminded me that my mother wanted to donate her organs.  It was something I knew but wasn’t thinking about during the time of crisis for our family.  It was shortly after that that we were asked about donation and knew it was what she would have wanted. Debbie was a registered donor and proudly had the red heart on her license. It was something she discussed with me and my brother from a young age. It was discussed like some families talk about college, it was just expected of you. She had discussed it with her three grandchildren, including the week before her death, always reminding them of her wishes.

Debbie’s family is already a family of registered donors. Through her donation she has brought awareness to many of her friends. Although they were not surprised she had wanted to be an organ donor, many had never given organ donation a real thought until she was the donor. I plan on spreading information as much as I can, as organ donation has a different meaning to our family now.  I had her EKG tattooed on my arm but made the heart green and with the recycled arrows design to symbolize her donation. It’s a permanent reminder of her gift and a way for people to ask what the tattoo means.

We just want her recipients to know that she would be so happy knowing they get a better chance at life. If they had met her once, they would have had a new friend. They have the organs of a lady who was both beautiful on the inside and out. We are so happy she lives on through them.

Tina Pedley