St. Augustine Record | Emelia HtchnerEvery day, LaToya Russ sits behind a counter at the office of the St. Johns County Tax Collector and asks people if they’d be willing to register as an organ donor.
“I’m a complete stranger asking people what they want to do when they die,” Russ said. “But I think it’s appropriate to ask on the driver’s end because when else will they have that conversation?”
Russ, 33, said she’s always been willing to donate, and watching a loved one suffer from renal failure only reinforced that mind-set.
“My uncle was kind of like a big brother. I got to see his life up close and personal,” Russ said.
Most of Russ’ family, including her uncle, Derek, grew up in St. Augustine. In 2008, Derek died at age 38 after his kidneys failed. Although he had seven other siblings, including twin brother Eric, he refused a kidney donation.
“He just didn’t want to do that,” Russ said. “I think it’s hard to hear that you have something you need to fix and then know you have to rely on someone to help.” Continue reading
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