Shawnna and Tim Downey of Weymouth, the Rev. David Wooster of Quincy and Kenneth Ouellet of Halifax know what it’s like to get the gift of life from an organ donor.
That’s why all can relate to recent news that the parents of 9-year-old Tucson shooting victim Christina Taylor Green donated her organs to a young girl in the Boston area. She was among six people killed in the shooting that gravely wounded Cong. Gabrielle Giffords.
“It’s amazing they chose to do this in such time of sorrow,” Shawnna Downey, 32, said Sunday. “They won’t regret their decision.”
Caitlin Downey, 3, the youngest of Downey’s three children, probably wouldn’t be alive today if she hadn’t received part of the liver of a 22-year-old Worcester man who died in a fall.
Downey said she and her husband have met the man’s family and continue to be in touch with them.
When their daughter is old enough, they plan to tell her about her donor.
“We were so happy when we got the call (about the liver),” Downey said. “Then all of a sudden it hits you that someone had to die. She (Caitlin) would not have been able to make it much longer.”
Caitlin was only 5 months old when she underwent a liver transplant at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
The Rev. Wooster, a Nazarene minister who has gone through two heart transplants, a bone marrow transplant and two colon surgeries over the past several years, said he can appreciate what the Green family has done.
“It’s a very generous thing,” the Rev. Wooster, 53, said. “It’s amazing that they can think of others.”
The clergyman now spends some of his free time visiting patients who have either received a transplant or are waiting for one. It’s part of his volunteer efforts as a member of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Patient Family Advisory Council.
“I try to stay in touch with the patients and their concerns so I can represent them on the council,” he said.
Kenneth Ouellet of Halifax, the recipient of a pancreas, liver and kidney, isn’t shy about telling others to become organ donors.
On the back of his pickup truck is a “Donate Life” banner.
Ouellet, 63, said the organs of the young Green girl will certainly make a lasting difference in someone’s life.
“I thought it was wonderful,” the former Marine sergeant said about the youngster’s family donating her organs. “She will live on in this other girl. Everyone should be a donor.”
Ouellet said his pancreas came from a 19-year-old woman who was killed in a car crash in New Hampshire.
Called the “miracle man” by some, Ouellet said people he tells about his transplants are surprised to learn about his ordeal and how he has been able to get through it.
“When people ask me my age, I say, ‘What part?’” Ouellet said.