Watch as this tissue transplant recipient meets her donor’s family 22 years after life-saving surgery

PASADENA STAR NEWS | Christopher Yee

Photo: Donate Life Float
PASADENA >> When Katy Portell met Sheila and Jack Wolf, they embraced in the kind of hug that long-separated parents and children might share.

The Wolfs lost their 8-year-old son, P.J., in 1991 in a bicycle accident and allowed his organs to be donated. A few years later, a little piece of P.J. was inside Portell — his heart valve.

The transplant allowed then 4-year-old Portell to survive, then thrive and meet the Wolfs 22 years later.

“I never thought I’d get a chance to speak with them, let alone meet them,” Portell, 27, said. “It’s a miracle.”

An unexpected meeting

The meeting was organized by Donate Life, a nonprofit organization that registers organ, eye and tissue donors across the country. Portell is set to ride alongside transplant donors and recipients on Donate Life’s float in Monday’s Rose Parade.

The meeting happened in a small conference room in the Hilton Pasadena hotel six months after Katy first made contact, Sheila Wolf said. Continue reading