It’s a simple as checking a box on your driver’s license application. Still, many Americans hold back from marking “yes” for organ donation.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, “Various myths about the process can deter people from signing up to give the lifesaving gift of their organs.”
I’ll admit, I was once one of those people. I used to fear that if it said “organ donor” on my license, that somehow meant the doctors wouldn’t try as hard to save me in an accident.
But the DMV website debunks that myth. “When a potential donor has a serious accident or illness and is in the hospital, the doctors and nurses responsible for that patient make every attempt to save his life,” the department’s site notes.
“While some worry that doctors don’t make as much of an effort to do so if you are an organ donor, this is not true.”
Organ donations save lives. They’re beautiful and selfless legacies one can leave behind after they pass on.
Thomas Cutinella was one such selfless human. He was only 16 when he died following a tragic accident on his high school football field in 2014, but even then this young man knew the power of organ donation.
Many of Thomas’ organs were donated, but it is the donation of his heart that’s making headlines 4 years later.
A friendship has formed between the young man’s mother, Kelli Cutinella, and the woman who now lives because of Thomas’ heart for giving.
Twenty-six-year-old Karen Hill was diagnosed with a heart condition at a young age. The condition, known as idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, made it so Hill’s heart couldn’t pump enough blood through her body.
“It turned into heart failure when I was in high school…” Hill shared with Inside Edition. “It was literally the day before I graduated college that they told me I needed a transplant.”
Without Thomas, Hill might never have made it to see her wedding day. That day became possible because of the life-giving transplant she received.
Donations are often anonymous, but it’s something special when a recipient can connect with a donor’s loved ones.
That’s exactly what happened when Cutinella invited the recipients of her son’s organs to her home. It was during this get-together that Hill and Cutinella connected.
Years have gone by since the football player’s passing, but these women have remained close. Cutinella even attended Hill’s wedding.
“At one point, my mom and dad were giving a toast and everyone was thanking the Cutinellas,” Hill shared with Inside Edition. “Everyone stood up and clapped for them.”
While Cutinella is no doubt grateful for the recognition of her son, she said he never needed to be thanked.
“He never needed to be acknowledged for any kind acts that he ever did,” she shared with the news outlet. “He never needed a pat on the back, so he would be very humbled and honored.”
It’s a tragic thing to lose a child, but in this case beauty has come from the ashes. Our best wishes go out to the bride and groom.
As for the Cutinella family, they will always miss their son. But I’ll bet Thomas would be glad to know his mom made a new friend — a friend who now lives because of the heart of a special and selfless young man.
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