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Learning Something Good from Something Sad

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Important information if you are an organ donor or plan to be.

As many of you know, my Significant Other, Thomas Hawkins, passed away July 2nd. From the time you could add Organ Donor status to your driver’s license, Tom added it to his. He added it to his Living Will and his final directives. He was a firm believer in the benefits of the program. But when the time came, and he was placed on Hospice, the option of being an Organ Donor was not a possibility. The numerous serious health issues he experienced had taken a toll on his body. What I learned was that to be an Organ Donor, your organs must go from you to a living person. That wasn’t going to happen for him.

But fortunately for me, my son, Christopher, reached out to his sister-in-law, Jessica Yokubeak, (Christine’s sister) an Organ Donor Referral Manager for the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), to see if there was any opportunity. Jessica let him know that although organ donation was not an option, there were other programs that might be suitable. One that she explained was for using tissue to help with the K9 Search and Rescue training program. Because Tom was a big dog lover, this was perfect. And tissue donation can also save and heal lives i.e., burn victims. But being an organ donor does not automatically allow for all the various programs. Some require that you enroll separately.

And I was so grateful that Jessica was able to make this happen. As I was appointed as Tom’s Healthcare Power of Attorney, Jessica spent over an hour on the phone with me going through the necessary documents. She managed to get this all submitted early in the morning. Early that afternoon, Tom passed away leaving behind a legacy of helping others.

CORE took on the responsibility of transporting Tom from the facility where he had been living to the funeral home. They provided us with personalized prayer cards, and some other mementos of this special program. (For those who may be concerned, the services of CORE are free and may reduce the cost of final expenses.) Also, I learned that many nursing homes and assisted living facilities do not contact CORE even if you have notified the facility in advance that you are an Organ Donor. So, it is suggested that the family contact CORE directly.

So, if you have made the decision to be an organ donor as part of your final planning, you may want to see what other options are available if organ donation becomes a non-option for you.

For more information, Jessica would be happy to provide you with more details. She can be reached at
CORE by calling 412-963-3550, option #1 or 412-290-8375. 

– Mary Grace Musuneggi