"I wanted to share my family's organ donation story," says Stephanie, remembering her dad Art who passed away last year, "and, at first, all I could think of was the word 'gratitude'."  Gratitude is what she feels for the 17 year gift that organ donation was for her family.  It is a gift that Stephanie wants to inspire others to give.

"Our story begins after Dad's two year wait for a kidney on the donor list" she says.  "We couldn't know what God had planned, but we accepted it.  And then we received a phone call that would change the course of our lives forever."  There was a match for her dad.  A kidney donor had been found in a 21 year old man whose life was taken in an accident and who had the "pink dot" on his driver's license.

Stephanie remembers the mix of emotions.  "As we raced to the hospital, we said a prayer for whoever lost their life.  It's hard to be excited when you know a family somewhere is grieving.  Because of a selfless act by one person to become a donor, as quick as a life ends a new one begins."  She also remembers the change in her dad.  "My dad received his kidney...and became a new person.  Knowing that someone gave him this gift of life, he was humbled."

The gift lasted 17 years.  "That's a lot of laughs and a lot of smiles," she says. "In those 17 years, my dad gave his time to orphanages in Mexico, delivering food to those who needed it. He got to walk me down the aisle at my wedding.  He became a grandfather and a great-grandfather.  He cheered me on at the finish line of 17 marathons. But, most of all, his last act of kindness was giving back through being a donor himself and a spokesperson.  He wanted everyone to understand the meaning of the 'pink dot.'  And so, at his request, in lieu of flowers we asked everyone who came to his memorial services to please become a donor. He touched so many lives this way."

"He was a caring, fun, silly guy, who loved to dance, and was often the life of the party.  We were so blessed to have had him for all those years. We are filled with gratitude."

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