Voices of Donation

Donated tissue can dramatically improve the quality of life for recipients and even save lives. This is thanks to the generous gift of life given by thousands of donors each year. We hope that these stories of how tissue donation and transplantation have touched the lives of others will inspire you.

Melissa Hanson

Melissa Hanson

“My daughter and best friend, Melissa, was born on Christmas Day,” said mother Loni Wendt. “We lost her in a car accident on April 19, 2002, at the age of 16.” According to her mother, as Melissa grew up she quietly helped and befriended everyone she knew. She was a good listener and a peace maker. “Many people shared with me their memories of Melissa, always including her caring and compassionate nature.”

Following Melissa’s death, donation was not a difficult decision for her mother. “I knew that that’s what Melissa had wanted,” said Loni. “I lost a brother when I was 18 and we donated his eyes. My mother was also an eye and tissue donor when she passed in 1999. Melissa chose to be a donor and it was with pride that I carried out her wishes.” She became the third generation in her family to be an eye donor and the second generation to be a tissue donor.
Melissa left behind two brothers, Josh and Matt, step brother, Aaron and step sister, Sarah.