To the editor: Girl, donor promote awareness

To the editor: Girl, donor promote awareness


Since the story of 5-year-old Angela Rushford, the Rockford girl who underwent a kidney transplant Jan. 3 in attempts to correct polycystic renal failure, appeared on national media outlets including NBC’s Today show, the families of Rushford and 38-year-old David Harper, the Mount Morris man who donated his kidney to Rushford, have received much support from well-wishers from around the globe. What follows are accounts from two people—one from Florida, the other from someone whose friend had recently been killed in a snowmobile accident—that offer similar stories of giving life.

Message from the Gift of Hope

The following e-mail from Judy Steller of the Gift of Hope was sent to The Rock River Times Jan. 28:

I have attached a copy of a letter from a woman in West Palm Beach, which was received and forwarded to all OPOs by LifeQuest of Florida.

My single greatest hope is that Angela and David’s story will increase overall awareness in our country of the critical need and incredible shortage of donors. This new awareness shall result in more people saying “yes” to donation throughout their lifetime, as well as when their life comes to an end! Only then can we truly be successful at accomplishing the Gift of Hope mission, to save and enhance the lives of as many people as possible through organ and tissue donation. So easy to say yes and save a life by donating blood, bone marrow, apheresis, organs, tissues, cornea, and etc.

Congratulations to you, the fine people of the Rock River Valley; your kindness, compassion and selfless generosity have made a difference in the world today!

Letter from Florida

I live in West Palm Beach. I have been seeing a lot of stories on TV and reading about stories in the paper about people whose lives have been saved by live unrelated kidney donations. I also understand that someone can live with one healthy kidney. I have been trying to find out how to become an unrelated kidney donor and am getting, what I think, is a lot of bad information. For instance, one pre-transplant coordinator in Miami told me it was illegal to donate a kidney to someone I didn’t know personally. Anyway, I am an AB- blood type and would think if I am a good match for someone out there, I would like to be considered as a donor. I would like to look nationwide, if not worldwide, for the best possible match. This would be purely for humanitarian reasons. Do you have any idea how I can get the process started?

Giving life through death

This morning, Monday, Jan. 27, 2003, a very good friend of mine was pronounced brain dead after a snowmobile accident two days earlier. He was only 37 years old. He just got married four months ago, and now his newlywed bride is a widow. It was a devastating blow to all of his friends and family. Kevin was the nicest guy anyone would ever want to meet. There was not a soul on this earth who could ever say a single bad word about him. The pain we all feel right now is overwhelming. However, all day long my husband and I kept talking about all of the families out there today who are getting a call telling them to go to the hospital because their prayers were answered … they finally have the organ that they were waiting and praying for and now their loved one will live.

As painful as Kevin’s death is, it is so comforting to know that even at his worst, he is doing his best. So many lives were saved today because of Kevin’s love, and his love for others has helped ease our pain. It is through his death that he gave life. We love you, Kevin, and you will be greatly missed. God bless you and all of the lives you have touched … especially those have the lucky recipients of your greatest gift. You may not of had any children of your own, but you have still given life. WE LOVE YOU, KEVIN!!!

How to give

For information on organ and tissue donation, visit the Gift of Hope Web site at

For information on becoming an organ donor, call 800-210-2106, log on to the secretary of state’s Web site at, or become a donor by checking the box on the back of your driver’s license.

For information about or to contribute to the Angela Rushford Children’s Organ Donation Fund, visit the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois’ (CFNIL) Web site at, or call CFNIL’s Annette Skipper at 815-962-2110.

About 80,000 U.S. patients are on the national list for organ donation with about 115 people being added to the list every day. Sixteen people die on average each day while waiting for an organ transplant.

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