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Expressing Gratitude for the Gift of Life: Creative Ways to Say Thank You

BALTIMORE, MD — The numbers are truly astonishing:

  • A new individual joins the organ donation waitlist every 8 minutes
  • On average, 16 individuals lose their lives daily while awaiting an organ transplant
  • A single organ, eye, and tissue donor has the potential to save and improve the lives of over 75 individuals

The significance of these statistics resonates deeply with us here at WMAR, especially during this Donate Life month, as the selfless act of an undisclosed donor recently rescued the life of a cherished member of our team.

While we typically maintain a professional distance, the hope is that by sharing this story, we may inspire even just one person to consider registering as an organ donor.

Darlene has been an integral part of the WMAR family for many years, affectionately known as the “Mom of WMAR.” She is renowned for her vast knowledge, unwavering support, problem-solving prowess, and compassionate leadership.

Her impact extends beyond Baltimore, reaching our affiliate stations in Virginia and beyond.

What many were unaware of is that amidst her dedicated service to us, Darlene was silently battling kidney failure. Enduring 20 months of peritoneal dialysis at home, she remained on the transplant list for a challenging 5-year period until the pivotal moment arrived in the early hours of Friday, April 5, 2024.

Despite previous setbacks, including delays caused by the pandemic, Darlene finally received the long-awaited call announcing the availability of a suitable kidney. With her daughters’ swift assistance, she was transported to Johns Hopkins Hospital. Today, we are thrilled to report that a mere week post-surgery, Darlene is already up and about, albeit a bit tender, embracing this newfound lease on life with gratitude.

True to her nature, Darlene’s thoughts are not solely centered on herself. Her foremost desire is to express profound appreciation to the anonymous donor, a sentiment she struggles to encapsulate in mere words.

Moreover, she wishes to extend her heartfelt thanks to the individuals involved in her care, from the initial call to the surgical team, caregivers, and the medical staff who facilitated her recovery and return home.

A special acknowledgment goes out to Angela Duckworth, Dr. Benjamin Philosophe, Maggie Connells, Ryan Whisler, Dr. Elias Ghandour, Dr. Kevin Schendel, and the many other dedicated nurses, physicians, and technicians who provided exceptional care.

As Darlene recuperates at home, we eagerly anticipate her return to work, though we understand that patience is key.

We urge you to take a moment to verify your donor status on your Driver’s License. Your decision could make an immeasurable difference in someone’s life, just as it did for Darlene.


Darlene WMAR