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Real stories about what is possible when you #SayYES.

Sawyer McKinley

“Heartbroken, but not broken”

December 12, 2018

Jaime and Jack McKinley had been at VCU Medical Center for two days when they called their teenaged sons Grayson and Finn to ask them how they felt about organ donation. Despite the stunning grief and shock of the past few days as the family learned that their 10-year-old son Sawyer would never wake up…

McDonald's Area Supervisor Marquis Byrd talks about his experience as a kidney recipient.

The “Aha” Moment: Kidney recipient reflects on the gift of life

November 27, 2018

Marquis had never liked going to the doctor. Growing up, he avoided it at all costs. Thinking back, he supposes it had something to do with witnessing kidney disease sicken his aunt until it eventually claimed her life. Ever since her death, Marquis avoided any sort of medical facility, figuring that no news is good…

Norfolk Preacher Demystifies Organ Donation through Outreach

November 6, 2018

Your loved one or yourself is already gone but someone else, another person, they can actually live,”Pastor Gloria Newsome-Brickhouse wasn’t always an organ donation advocate. In fact, organ donation wasn’t really on her radar until a deacon at her church invited her to attend a seminar for the blind about 10 years ago. “They kept…

A Driving Force Remembered: Joey Gase takes Meredith Haga Fox’s message to fans

October 15, 2018

Meredith Haga Fox was not shy about encouraging others to become organ donors—quite the opposite, she was passionate and determined. “She didn’t take ‘no’ very well,” remembers NASCAR driver Joey Gase, who became friends with Meredith during his work with Donate Life Virginia. If anyone knew the power of direct statements, it was Meredith. A…

Virginia Man to be Honored at Richmond Raceway

September 17, 2018

AJ Janosko should have turned 50 this year. He didn’t. Instead of celebrating his birthday, his family is preparing to celebrate his life, as well as the lives he saved and that were healed, thanks to his decision to be a donor. On Sept. 21, the Donate Life Virginia #35 car will bear AJ’s name…

Burn survivor begins new life as an advocate

August 15, 2018

Imran Zaman is a new man. Literally. After 90 percent of his body was burned in a house fire, he nearly died three times, spent months in a coma, then received extensive tissue donations to rebuild his body. “I was basically like a newborn,” Imran said. “I couldn’t talk and I couldn’t walk, but I…

College Friends Share a Liver, Return to US Transplant Games of America

July 26, 2018

Matt and Patrick were college friends. They shared a soccer team, a fraternity and a room. Now, they also share a liver. “About six years ago, I opened an email and it was a friend saying ‘Hey, did you hear about Matt?’” said Patrick Kacani. “I read back through the email chain and saw he…

35 Day Challenge Honors Richmond Donor

July 10, 2018

Andrew Luna was an advocate for organ donation even before he died. In life, he experienced firsthand how an organ transplant impacts a family. Upon his death, he gave his own organs. And now, six months after his death, his friends are signing up organ donors in his name to commemorate what would have been…

Miracle Milestone: Gloucester 5-year-old graduates with a ‘special heart’

June 26, 2018

Preschool graduation is always a milestone, but for Brody Martin, it’s also a miracle. The 5-year-old almost didn’t live to see his first birthday but thanks to an angel and a heart transplant, he is now experiencing childhood like every other kid in his class. Brody’s mom, Lauren Martin, said it happened out of the…

Inspired by son’s transplant, Richmond mom signs up as anonymous living donor

June 22, 2018

After her son’s heart transplant, Ashleigh Jordan wanted to do something to honor his donor and the thousands of other strangers who give the gift of life. After some thought, she decided to give the gift herself, signing up to become a living kidney donor. “I thought about releasing balloons or doing a fundraiser but…