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.

Michiel Crabtree

Michiel Crabtree

Terri Crabtree lost her husband of 12 years, Michiel Earnest Crabtree, to a massive heart attack in January 2013. Mike had just turned 47 years old.

“Mike was a very unique man; he thought of others before he thought of himself, and he always enjoyed talking and getting to know people,” Terri said. “He always had a spare smile for anyone that may be in need of one, because he always said life was too short not to enjoy it.”

Mike was a very proud daddy of five boys. He enjoyed playing ball, games, or just being silly with his sons. “He was a diehard fan of the Indianapolis Colts even before they were in Indy,” Terri said. “He was an avid Nascar fan, to put it mildly. He loved all kinds of racing. He was a go kart racer and won a few trophies.”

When Mike wasn’t racing he enjoyed helping his friends at a local go kart track in Virginia. He loved the outdoors and enjoyed watching nature at its best, especially wildlife.

“Mike had a heart of gold, and he was a wonderful, giving and loving husband to me,” Terri said. “He was my best friend. We didn’t have much in life, but we had all we needed because we were together.” Terri and Mike knew they were soul mates. “Mike loved just being home with me and our two boys,” Terri said. “He would sit with me and watch the Hallmark Channel, and we would enjoy being with each other even if we just sat there or went out to do grocery shopping.”

Mike was a very hard and loyal worker and friend, and many of his friends from childhood kept in touch through adulthood. He had a wonderful sense of humor and loved telling tales and jokes. “He just enjoyed watching people laugh,” Terri said.

“We had hard times, but knowing we were together made them better,” Terri said. She recalls Mike telling her he wished he could give her everything she needed and wanted, and Terri would reply “You did. You gave me your love.” 

“Mike was my best friend, my companion, my one true love and my husband for life,” Terri said. “He taught me what unconditional love was, and he taught me how to live and laugh.”

Terri said that Mike had been a registered donor since the moment he first heard he could be one. “I had no reservations whatsoever to donate after his death because I knew that he could save someone’s life. I have myself decided to become a donor to honor my wonderful husband.”
           
“I lost a huge part of myself when my Michiel went to Heaven,” Terri said. “He made my life wonderful and happy. I will love him forever, and when my day comes I know we will have eternal bliss in Heaven.”