For 'donor moms,' gift of life was only choice

Florida Today | Sara Paulson

The Cocoa Beach Kidney Walk is set for May 9 at Cocoa Beach Pier. Walking are Dee Hill, left, Mike Futch, Dawn Futch, organizer Bill Hahn, Mary Carpenter, Julie Newhouse and Pat Brown. (Photo: MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY)

Dee Hill has a perspective that nobody wants.

Her daughter, Cora, was born with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disease. At 20, she collapsed and was put on a ventilator in the intensive care unit at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

On Christmas Eve 2007, the doctor told Hill what no mother wants to hear: Cora's body was breaking down.

" 'I want you to get through Christmas and then you have some difficult decisions,' " Hill recalls.

But then, a life-saving gift arrived.

"Her miracle came later that day, and she was transplanted with new lungs on Christmas Eve," Hill said.

Cora was spiritually changed by the experience, Hill said. She often spoke of her donor, Erica, who had saved four lives that day. And Cora herself was adamant about organ donation.

"She started speaking out herself for those two years, telling everybody and being a walking billboard for this cause," Hill said. Continue reading.