Gift of life is very personal for Panthers’ Tillman Organ donation saved daughter

The Charlotte Post | Ashley Mahoney

Organ donation saves lives.

August 1-7 is National Minority Donor Awareness Week, but as Carolina Panthers cornerback Charles Tillman points out, awareness should serve as a constant reminder.

“Not to take anything away from cancer,” said Tillman, whose daughter Tiana received a donated heart in 2008, “because it is a big problem. Various types of cancer kill numerous people every year. I think whether we’re talking about cancer, whether we’re talking about organ donation — I think it should be a lifestyle.”

Seven years ago, a heart transplant saved Tiana Tillman’s life. She was three months old and had dilated cardiomyopathy, which her caused heart rate to soar to 220 beats a minute.

“The process—it’s a little surreal,” said Charles Tillman. “When a doctor comes in and tells you that your child needs an organ—so many thoughts race through your mind. It’s just kind of like ‘Wow, I can’t believe this is happening. I’m having a meeting about my child needing someone else’s organ – I want her to have her own organ.’” Continue reading