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Baby Sister’s Organ Donation Saves Five Lives

In 2016, a tragic incident took the life of my younger sister, Megan, at the hands of a drunk driver. Despite the immense loss, Megan’s legacy continues to impact numerous lives. Through her thoughtful choice to register as an organ donor, Megan’s altruistic essence thrives—not only within the five individuals she rescued but also within their circles of loved ones and all who are touched by her narrative. Her spirit resonates deeply within me as well.

Megan’s decision to join the national donor registry occurred merely four months before the fatal accident, unbeknownst to our family. It was only after her passing that a family care coordinator from the organ procurement organization in Jacksonville informed us of her noble act. In the midst of our grief, we found solace and hope in knowing that Megan’s legacy would be a beacon of light for many in need.

Since then, my family has been profoundly grateful for the opportunity to honor Megan’s wish and facilitate the donation process through collaboration with the organ procurement organization. The dedication and empathy displayed by the team members were unforgettable. Their commitment to ensuring that Megan, who was destined to miss out on significant life milestones, could leave a profound legacy of compassion behind, was truly remarkable.

Megan’s lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver were transplanted into five individuals battling critical illnesses. Among them is Richard, who received Megan’s lungs and has since become an integral part of our extended family. Witnessing firsthand the life-changing impact of Megan’s decision, especially during Richard’s battle with COVID-19 in 2021, reaffirmed the enduring power of organ donation. Richard’s heartfelt acknowledgment that “Megan’s lungs saved my life again” resonated deeply within us.

Moreover, Megan’s choice to be an organ donor unexpectedly transformed my own life. Struggling with profound grief following her passing, I sought a way to channel my emotions into a meaningful purpose. The opportunity presented itself when my family relocated to Tampa in 2017, and I discovered a fitting role at LifeLink of Florida, the organ procurement organization serving the west coast of the state. Joining the LifeLink Hospital Development team allowed me to share Megan’s legacy and educate healthcare professionals on the life-saving impact of organ donation—a mission that brings me immense fulfillment every day.

As April marks Donate Life Month, I am compelled to emphasize the critical need for organ donors. With over 103,000 individuals currently on the national transplant waitlist, including more than 5,100 in Florida alone, the urgency of this cause cannot be overstated. Every eight minutes, someone joins the waitlist, underscoring the importance of increasing donor registrations to prevent unnecessary loss of life. Organ donation is a universal opportunity, irrespective of age or medical history.

On behalf of my family, colleagues, healthcare partners, and the countless patients awaiting a second chance at life, I implore you to consider registering as an organ donor today. By doing so, you can transform tragedy into hope and establish a legacy of love that transcends generations, much like my beloved sister Megan. Please take a moment to visit the registration site and make a difference today.

Carolyn Hostetler, sister of the late organ donor Megan Twist and a dedicated hospital development specialist at LifeLink of Florida, the federally designated organ procurement organization serving Tampa and its surrounding regions.