Memorial Hermann’s Exhibit The Ultimate Gift Will Bring Tears to Your Eyes

HOUSTONIA | Jeanne Lyon Davis 

Powerful photographs highlight the importance of organ and tissue donations. (Pass the Kleenex.)

IN THE DECEMBER ISSUE OF HOUSTONIA, Karen Abercrombie shared a powerful essay about her sister Julie’s untimely death at the hands of a drunk driver in 2004 and the life-changing events that followed. Not only did Julie become an organ donor, she also donated tissue, a lesser known but equally impactful gift.

Unlike vital organ donations, which are rushed to wait-listed patients with the dramatic flair of a Grey’s Anatomy episode, tissue donations have a much longer shelf life, as it can be frozen and saved for years. Twelve years after Julie’s accident, her donations have saved or enriched 80 people’s lives, including the achilles tendon of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer.

Abercrombie’s moving story inspired a new initiative to raise awareness about organ and tissue donations at Memorial Hermann–Texas Medical Center, where Julie was treated more than a decade ago. Today, there is a huge disparity between the number of people waiting for donations (120,000) and people who donate (14,000). Continue reading