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.

Debra Pappas

Debra Pappas

Debra (Debbie) Pappas, of Raytown, Mo., is an avid reader who has written grants and published a children’s book Mom, Dad Come Back Soon. Debbie has been published by the American Psychiatric Association – children’s division - Magination Press in 2002. She has a PhD in community psychology and enjoys reading. Debbie developed ankylosing spondylitis, which is a chronic inflammatory Read more
Shelly Lyons

Shelly Lyons

“I was limited to walking for movement,” said Shelly Lyons, an allograft tissue recipient. Being an extremely active teacher, mother and lover of the outdoors, Shelly had a difficult time being restricted to no sports or any of her other routine activities. One day, while playing Ultimate Frisbee, a favorite pastime of Shelly’s, she tore her ACL. “We live a Read more
Justin Fisher

Justin Fisher

Justin Fisher, 33, of Gainesville, Fla. is highly active in sports including flag football, softball and especially basketball, where he ruptured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) during a pickup game with friends. “I needed a new ACL to help stabilize my knee so that I could return to the active, healthy lifestyle I have become accustomed to. I received a Read more
Colin Lepley

Colin Lepley

Colin Lepley considers himself very physical, and he enjoys practically all sports. He has played sports since he was four years old, his favorite being football. During his junior year of high school, he ran for over 1,200 yards and scored 15 touchdowns. Colin couldn’t wait for his senior year to beat all of the records that his coaches were Read more
Jaclyn Crawford

Jaclyn Crawford

One late night in February of 2006, Jaclyn Crawford fell on her tile kitchen floor, landing on her knee. Jaclyn tried to stand, but the pain was too much. The next morning, a visit to the Emergency Room suggested that she had a tear in her ACL. At her orthopedic appointment, her doctor suggested she do physical therapy before surgery, Read more
Peggy Maloney

Peggy Maloney

Before 1998, Peggy Maloney had a very active and healthy lifestyle. “I engaged in yoga and ballet classes and loved to go backpacking, especially in the Smoky Mountains.” Peggy said. “I had always been blessed with good health and didn’t know what it was like to be physically limited.” But in 1998, the disk between her C4 and C5 vertebra Read more
Harry Rambo

Harry Rambo

Harry Rambo was skydiving from 9,000 feet when strong wind conditions forced him to misjudge his landing. He hit the ground at more than 25 miles per hour and shattered his right femur. The point of impact was Harry’s right hip. The head of the femur was separated from the bone, and the shaft was shattered. His doctor used cancellous Read more
Christie Blakely

Christie Blakely

Christie Blakely of Gainesville, Fla. tore her right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while skiing in Colorado. “After I tore my ACL, I was concerned about instability in my knee,” Christie said. “As a result, I refrained from activities that I thought might cause further damage.” Christie said she enjoys golfing and exercising, and she didn’t want her activity level to Read more
Megan Silcox

Megan Silcox

Fourteen-year-old Megan Silcox of Newberry, Fla. was playing in her very first high school soccer game when she suddenly tore her ACL. Today, Megan is preparing for next year’s soccer season thanks to the generous gift of a stranger. Through a tissue transplant, doctors were able to repair Megan’s knee and she is well on her way to a full Read more
Ida Williams

Ida Williams

RTI is pleased to honor a fellow employee and living donor, Tracy Riggins, who selflessly gave the gift of life to her mother, Ida: Ida Williams remembers feeling extremely sick in 2000, with her condition worsening daily. Her family rushed her to the hospital, where she was told that high blood pressure was threatening her health. “She was the sickest Read more
Laurie Wills

Laurie Wills

Laurie Wills of West Palm Beach, Fla. was having extreme pain in her neck, preventing her from carrying out daily tasks like holding a telephone and working on a computer. “The pain involved my neck, shoulder and right arm and limited what I could do,” Laurie said. “My range of motion was limited and the pain and tingling in my Read more
Marty Mosley

Marty Mosley

Can you imagine how different your life would be if you couldn’t see the information on a bottle of medicine or a menu at a restaurant or even pass a simple eye test at the DMV despite wearing prescription eye glasses at the strongest correction? Now imagine you are only a child and your world is getting less clear with Read more
Carrie Hartill

Carrie Hartill

Carrie Hartill remembers bending over to pick up an object from the ground the day before feeling excruciating pain in her right shoulder, but she still isn’t exactly sure what caused her injury. The pain kept her awake for four nights before she went to the doctor, who prescribed rehabilitation to treat the presumed shoulder injury. However, on her first Read more
Wayne Godsmark

Wayne Godsmark

Wayne Godsmark is a father of two little girls, ages 8 and 3. He and his wife, Dawn, like spending their time outdoors with the kids, working on renovating their home and helping with the upkeep of his father’s church property. He is an avid weekend warrior, playing on multiple sports teams. Wayne also is something else very special. He Read more
Mattie Owens

Mattie Owens

For almost nine years Mattie Owens suffered from pain in her back, shoulders and neck, due to a degenerative disc disease. The Jacksonville, Fla., woman had tingling and numbness in her right arm and was losing the use of it. Everyday activities like fixing her hair or using the mouse on her computer became difficult. My whole right arm felt Read more
Brandon Sack

Brandon Sack

While wakeboarding, Brandon Sack suddenly felt his knee twist and pop. Brandon said it was horrible timing because the weather had just warmed up enough for him to stop using his wetsuit while on the water. He instantly thought about all of the warm spring days to come that he would not be able to enjoy. After a visit to Read more
Dr. Robert Cooper

Dr. Robert Cooper

Robert Cooper of Orlando, Fla. had dealt with the sudden pain in his neck for two months when he decided he could not keep living in pain. In August 2003 he began feeling horrible pains in his right arm, shoulder and neck. He says he doesn’t know what happened, but one day he woke up with pain in his neck Read more
Diane Hickey

Diane Hickey

After spending Valentine’s Day 2004 in a hospital emergency room, Diane Hickey is now happily recovered thanks to the kindness of a stranger. Diane received a soft tissue allograft from a tissue donor to repair her left knee after injuring herself while playing volleyball. On February 14, 2004, one week before her 30th birthday, Diane was playing volleyball when she Read more
Rita Zeidner

Rita Zeidner

In early 2002, Rita Zeidner, a journalist from Arlington, Va., was limping along and recovering slowly from reconstructive knee surgery. She had torn her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) after falling on an icy ski trail in Colorado. During Rita’s first visit to the orthopedist, she was devastated to hear that a damaged ACL doesn’t heal. But, she says, her spirits Read more
Suzi Resnick

Suzi Resnick

Suzi Resnick of Alachua, Fla., was involved in an auto accident in 1979 and received two fractured vertebrae. The only option at that time was to wear a hard cervical collar and take pain pills. Over the years she saw numerous neurosurgeons and other physicians, and was told that nothing could be done to relieve her continuing pain. A few Read more
Betty Long

Betty Long

When she was 52, Betty Long of Palatka, Fla., found out that she had scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine. Her doctor discovered the scoliosis during a check-up for tennis elbow, but he did not recommend surgery at the time, hoping the condition would stabilize. She continued her active lifestyle, including playing basketball and skiing. At age 65, Betty Read more
Pamela Snyder

Pamela Snyder

Tearing ligaments in both knees didn’t slow down Pamela Snyder. An energetic athlete, Pam first tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee playing soccer in high school. Then in college she tore the ACL in her left knee playing flag football. At the time, doctors advised her not to have surgery since the procedure was still considered Read more
Dawn Giese

Dawn Giese

The pain in Dawn Giese’s lower back began in 2004 due to a spinal stress fracture. It was devastating for the then 42-year-old registered nurse when she tried to walk up and down stairs, roll over in bed, or drive a long distance. Worse, she was unable to sit for more than 20 minutes at a time. “In meetings, I Read more
Anne Rose

Anne Rose

Soccer is life for Anne Rose, but a torn ACL twice threatened to end her time on the field. At a soccer camp, Anne tore her meniscus, PCL and ACL. “Years ago this would have been a career ending accident, but thanks to the allograft implant I received through the gift of donation, I was back on the field in Read more