The Gift of a Lifetime

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Organ Donation and Transplant Journey

During a two-week period in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, a team of journalists documented the organ donor program and a major transplant hospital to tell the story behind efforts to save lives through organ donation and transplantation. Experience these dramatic transplant stories for an intimate look at the life and death drama that unfolds every day in communities throughout the United States.

Organ Donation - Giving the Gift

What happens when a loved one dies and a family is asked to consider organ and tissue donation? In "Giving the Gift," learn how Gift of a Life Donor Program in Philadelphia works with families who make the decision to give life to others through organ donation.

These stories are dedicated to Julian Byrd and Cliff Sahlberg.
 

Organ Transplants - Waiting for the Gift

Disabled and suffering. Waiting and wondering. These words define the lives of patients awaiting life-saving organ transplants. In "Waiting for the Gift," share this extraordinary – and often surprising – time period with patients, their families and the medical professionals who care for them at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
 

Story 1:

The Calls Come 24 Hours a Day
All night, Rick Hasz of the Gift of Life Donor Program has monitored a donor referral involving a brain dead teenager. The young man is registered as a donor, but it's unclear if his mom will agree and give life to others.

Story 1:

Living on the List
Four patients waiting for organ transplants at UCLA Medical Center begin a new day. For each, it will involve much uncertainty and reliance upon loved ones. But what they need most can come only through the generosity of strangers.

Story 2:

A Mother Grieves and Gives
Even though brain dead, Julian Byrd still "seems" alive to his mother Susan. Given time and support she comes to understand that Julian is gone and makes a decision that will save the lives of six others.

Story 2:

The Wait Ends for Gary
Gary Bush has waited six years and has been called three times recently with the offer of a new kidney. Each time, the kidney went to someone else. By day's end, Gary's wait for a kidney will be over.

Story 3:

Key Moments Make Donation Possible
There were key moments that made the donation of Julian Byrd's organs possible. The most important was the discussion he had with his mother two years earlier when he made the decision to sign up as a donor.

Story 3:

Faith and Courage Meet
A turn of events forces Rick Williams to show courage in his wait for a new heart at UCLA Medical Center, while another patient ends the wait for a transplant with a gift of a kidney from her husband.

Story 4:

Tissue Donors Restore Life and Hope
Although tissue donation lacks the immediate drama of a heart transplant, it is no less dramatic to restore sight with a donated cornea, prevent the amputation of a leg with donated bone, or heal a burn victim's wounds.

Story 4:

Learning to Live with Statistics
Doctors manage Troy Sander's medications in order to protect his transplanted heart from rejection, while Linda Alcorace deals with a sobering set of statistics — her odds of survival without a transplant.

Story 5:

Finding the Healing Power of Donation
Organ and tissue donation helps treat illnesses and injuries and save the lives of dying patients. But families of donors know that the healing power of donation reaches far beyond the transplant itself.

Story 5:

Hoping for a Lifetime
Three patients with battery-powered pumps connected to their hearts are about to enjoy their first sunshine in two months. Their hope for heart transplants and freedom from the wait continues.

 
Presenting SponsorsSupporting SponsorsInformation

Coalition on Donation logoMusculoskeletal Transplant Foundation logo
Barr Laboratories logo
Statline, Inc. logo
Gift of Life Donor Program logo
NATCO logo