"Renewing Life, One by One"
January 18, 2010


Donate Life is proud to present "Faces of Donation and Transplantation" in the 2009 Kingdom Day Parade.

LaRhonda Amos
Dialysis Patient
Receiving a successful organ transplant would mean a renewed phase of life for me and another miracle moment”.

With the help and encouragement of my family, church and close friends, I have gone from the false concept of “I Am Every Woman”, to accept the fact that I can no longer fully function alone. I thank God for the support that surrounds me on a daily basis and look past the obvious health challenges and material aspects of life. Instead I realize the on-going miracle; I am alive and I am loved! Every moment that I'm alive and functioning is a miracle moment. I will and can adjust to life, as God sees fit for me now and in the future.

Keenan Cheung and Reginal Griffin
Kidney Exchange Recipient and Donor
“This whole experience has been overwhelming emotionally, but the true story is about all donors”.

Reginal and Keenan, are “linked for life” thanks to the UCLA Kidney Exchange program through which, “donor chains” are created, matching people who are unable to receive a kidney from a willing friend or family member with others in a similar situation. It started when altruistic donor and Michigan fire fighter Harry Damon contacted UCLA to see about becoming an altruistic donor in memory of his 24 year old son. Damon was a match for Reginal’s mother Sheila Whitney of Compton. Reginal, wanted to save his mom, but his blood was incompatible. Once Shelia received Damon’s kidney, the “chain” was set in motion. Reginal then donated his compatible kidney to Cheung, leaving his willing but incompatible wife Jeanne’s kidney for another grateful exchange recipient. In all, seven received the gift of life. A one-year reunion of all those involved in the chain is already in the works.

Anna Chevalier
Donor Mother
“I look forward to someday meeting the recipients of Arthur’s life saving gift.”

My son, Arthur Robert Lee was in a motor cycle accident, and was rushed to Los Robles hospital in Thousand Oaks, California. After spending three days on a respirator, Arthur died. When I was asked to consider donating his organs, my mind went blank but my sister Deanna was by my side and she said we should. My son’s heart went to a nurse in Arizona, his eyes to a recipient in Santa Monica and the rest of his organs went to UCLA for research. Before this tragic experience, I never trusted the medical profession enough to be a personal donor but that has changed and I am now registered to be an organ and tissue donor and look forward to someday meeting the recipients of Arthur’s life saving gift.

Leslie Franklin
Liver Recipient & Donate Life Ambassador
“But for the thoughtful, kind, and brave decision by my donor and his family I would not be here to tell this story.”

I was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2000 and by 2003 I was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease and placed on the waiting list for a liver transplant. During the 5 year period on the waiting list my condition deteriorated gradually at first and then escalated. On April 14, 2008, I received a life saving liver transplant. I want to say that but for the thoughtful, kind, and brave decision by my donor and his family I would not be here to tell this story. I have a wonderful relationship with my donor family, and his daughter, who happens to be the same age as my own. Now I am blessed with the opportunity to work as a volunteer with Donate Life to educate and encourage as many people as possible to become organ and tissue donors.

Tamika Hams & Michelle Harris
Donate Life Advocates
They didn’t have to do it, but they did.

After arriving at OneLegacy in 1998, organ placement coordinator, Tamika Hams and accounting staff member Michelle Harris went beyond the scope of their job requirements and sought out opportunities to educate the African American community in their Moreno Valley hometown. They participated in the Inland Empire’s African American Health Initiative campaign designed to identify the major health problems facing African Americans in San Bernardino County, which might lead to the need for a life saving transplant. Tamika and Michelle requested educational resources from OneLegacy and, on their “off-duty” time, chosen for their pioneering spirit in outreach to the I.E. African American community leading to bringing a targeted effort at OneLegacy.

Dr. Janice Liebler
USC University Hospital Transplant Team
Seeing patients transformed through a life-saving transplant inspires health care professionals to guard and maintain the integrity of our transplantation system.”

Dr. Liebler hails from Detroit, MI where she attended medical school at Wayne State University. After coming to the USC Keck School of Medicine in 1999, Dr. Liebler has established herself as a leading educator in lung transplantation and critical care medicine. She was formally the Associate Medical Director for Keck’s Lung Transplantation Program and is currently an attending physician for LAC+USC Medical Center’s Medical Intensive Care Unit and USC University Hospital’s Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine division. In addition to lung transplantation, Dr. Liebler’s research interests also include lung injury and repair and cell-based treatment of lung diseases.

Glenn Matsuki
Heart Recipient and Donate Life Ambassador
“At the time I do not think this family knew what their decision would mean. I along with four other families can honestly say we know...”

A little over 14 years ago, a family sat in the ICU of a hospital in the inland empire awaiting news from the doctor about their loved one who was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident. The news was not good; their loved one was brain dead. Despite their sadness and grief they decided to give the gift of life and consented to the request for organ and tissue donation. At the time I do not think this family knew what their decision would mean. I along with four other families can honestly say we know, for their decision, their gift meant the difference between life and death. I can appreciate their act for I received the heart of this generous donor and family.

Marlin Pereira
Donor Mother
“My daughter Trinity died on July 9, 2002. On that day, I made the decision for her to become an organ and tissue donor.”

I never thought that I would have to make that decision for my child. No parent ever does, but it happened to me and that decision has been the best decision I could have made as a mother because my daughter saved the life of a little boy. Colin received his transplant when he was 3 months old and now he can run, play, laugh, and love. So can Trinity. Although I only had her for 2 months but I remember her everyday. I even remember her smell. She was perfect in everyway. As a child I remember my mother having a pink sticker on her driver’s license and from a young age, I knew what a tremendous gift that was. This decision gave me hope at a time where I had no hope. It gave me the hope that my daughter would be able to give someone else the opportunity to accomplish their dreams. Trinity did…Colin is 7 years old now.

Rev. Dr. Melvin V. Wade
Bone Marrow Recipient, Pastor Mt. Moriah MBC
Give Thanks and Give Life through organ and tissue donation is stewardship.”

In 1999, Dr. Wade was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML). Following the testing of several of his siblings, for a bone marrow candidate, his brother, Dr. J. C. Wade, Jr., was the God-sent perfect match. In February of that same year, he began the transplant at UCLA, with a highly specialized medical team that navigated his journey from treatment to recovery. Dr. Wade received overwhelming support from his wife, Jacquie, his family, his church family and the prayers of literally thousands of well-wishers. Now 10 years later, he is leukemia free. Dr. Wade is a beacon light of hope, for others that are faced with life threatening health challenges and as Pastor of Mt. Moriah MBC pledges his support for Donate Life’s Give Thanks Give Life campaign. “It is important that people of faith understand the importance of sharing the gift of their life with others in need. To Give Thanks and Give Life is through organ and tissue donation is stewardship.”

John Webb
Lung Recipient /USC Transplant Center
“I am now able to do most all activities like before the disease - a real second chance for life, which I no longer take for granted.”

I was diagnosed with emphysema in 1996. I lost my medical credentials needed for flying small airplanes, my ability to play softball, my enjoyment of fly-fishing. My ability to walk any distance, even with oxygen, was getting worse. In the fall of 2007, my pulmonologist told me I should be considering a lung transplant. Before that conversation, I had no idea that such a thing was even possible. I met my transplant team at USC in Los Angeles, and attended my first group support meeting. Twenty-six days later, when the call came to notify me that a donor was available I was very surprised at the short length of time I had been on the waiting list. I was both terrified and excited. I was in the hospital for 23 days and I have had no complications. Thanks to my donor, I am now able to do most all activities like before the disease - a real second chance for life, which I no longer take for granted. I will honor that gift by encouraging all to donate life.

Judi Ann Woodford
Donor Mother
“The last thing Chris said as he was wheeled out of his room and down the hall was ‘I love you, Mama’. I am truly blessed that I had the opportunity to tell my son one last time, “I love you, Chris!”

Every Tuesday Chris would meet us at his favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. He was on his way home when a car backed out of a driveway in front of him. Chris didn’t have time to react and ran his shiny Suzuki into the passenger side of the car at full speed. The next thing I knew his dad, sister and I were racing towards St. Francis Trauma Center in Lynwood. Chris was in ICU. A little while later, a nurse came to take him for a CAT scan and x-rays and wheeled him away. The last thing Chris said was ‘I love you, Mama’. I am truly blessed that I had the opportunity to tell my son one last time, “I love you, Chris!” We had never discussed donation with Chris but our family agreed that Chris would have wanted to help others and we consented to donation. We had no idea his life would be ending so soon. Within an hour, OneLegacy called to comfort us in our loss and asked if there was anything she could do for our family. She told me Chris had registered as a donor three years prior to his accident when he had renewed his driver’s license. It was comforting for us to know that Chris had also made the decision to donate and that his wishes were being granted.