Hawaii Organ Donors Honored
Families Of Organ Donors Join In Recognizing Loved Ones
HONOLULU -- It is National Donate Life Month, and on Saturday, families of Hawaii organ donors honored their gifts of life.Donor families joined in honoring loved ones at the Donor Recognition Ceremony held at the Ko’olau Golf.Club.The Soleymani family met the Caudell family for the first time Saturday.Yet their paths crossed two years ago when John Caudell was in desperate need of a liver transplant.“I was getting sick a lot. I had a lot of infections. I wasn’t able to function normally,” said Caudell.In February 2008, the Soleymani's 20-year old son Shirzad died in a moped crash in Waikiki.“He was the only child. We took care of him. I was very protective of him,” said Shirzad’s father, Mehrzad Soleymani.Shirzad's parents decided to donate their son's organs.Five organs were transplanted including his kidneys, heart and pancreas.John Caudell received the young man's liver and on Saturday Caudell thanked the Soleymanis for their gift of life.“Very emotional, they’re my family,absolutely. They took me in just like I’m one of their family,” said Caudell.Families of donors pinned fabric squares with donors' photos on the Hawaii Donor Quilt.The quilt represents lives lost but also the hundreds of lives saved.“He had a big heart that drove him to be selflessly involved in the lives of others,” said Soleymani.“It meant my whole life and if anyone out there is thinking about being an organ donor, I would definitely recommend that you do. That you might save someone else’s life,” said Caudell.“This is the best thing that ever has happened not only to him leaving his organs for other people to survive but also for the memories,” said Soleymani.