Saturday, November 21, 2015

Organ recipients and their families honor donors

Chicago Tribune | Sue Ellen Ross

Vicki Olds of Crown Point, left, and Tanisha Basham of University Park, Ill., share a moment at the recent Donate Life Rose Dedication Ceremony at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster. Olds’ daughter, Nikki Smith, died in June and her heart was donated to Basham. (Sue Ellen Ross / Post-Tribune)

Vicki Olds of Crown Point and Monica Stevens of University Park, Ill., have been best friends for 32 years. Neither could know how a recent tragedy would cement their friendship to an even deeper level.

Olds' daughter, Nikki Smith, a designated organ donor, died June 1; and at that same time, Stevens' sister, Tanisha Basham of University Park, had been on a waiting list for a new heart for two years.

Smith's heart found a new home and offered a new life for Basham.

"I had been a donor for many years and when my daughter saw it written on my drivers license, she asked why it was there," Olds told the audience at the fifth annual Donate Life Rose Dedication Ceremony at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster. "I told her that when you pass, you can't take your organs with you, so why not donate and possibly save a life. She then decided to become a donor herself."

This year's ceremony, which paid tribute to organ, eye and tissue donors, included nearly 200 family members recognizing 36 donors. Continue reading

 

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