Grief to gift: Mom allows hand transplant from daughter

THE DETROIT NEWS | Candace Williams 

From left, Andy Steinhauer (donor's fiance and father of her son, Oliver) and her mother, Debra Wyant.(Photo: Gift of Life Michigan)
When Shayna Sturtevant and her mother went to apply for Shayna’s driver’s license when she was 18, she eagerly signed up to become an organ donor.

“If she could help somebody, she wanted to do that,” said Debra Wyant, Shayna’s mother.

In September 2016, Sturtevant, a 21-year-old Norton Shores resident, died after developing a brain abscess stemming from an ear infection.

In her death, she became the first hand transplant donor for Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s federally designated organ and tissue donation program. Others received Sturtevant’s kidneys, liver, lungs and pancreas.

Wyant said the day after her daughter was declared brain dead, she learned there was a match for Sturtevant’s hands. The organization needed special permission for hand donations.

“You want my what?” Wyant recalled saying, caught off guard by the request. “I knew that Shayna would want to hold her 11/2-year-old son. If she can’t hold him, she’d want someone to hold a loved one. The gift of touch is so amazing.” Continue reading