Utah families impacted by organ donation honored at special holiday event

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SALT LAKE CITY — They’re part of a unique circle: organ donors, recipients, and family members of donors. On Wednesday, the Yes Utah Donor Registry honored them with a special holiday celebration.

The holidays can be tough for people who have lost loved ones. For many people in attendance Wednesday, knowing their loved ones live on through others is a priceless gift.

“Anthony was 13 years old, healthy, active 13-year-old boy. He passed away unexpectedly,” said Keri Stephens.

It’s been six years since Stephens’ son Anthony passed away from a brain injury. On the saddest day of her life, she gave other families the greatest gift.

“Anthony changed eight people’s lives with his organ donation and gave the gift of sight to two different people because of the donation of his corneas,” Stephens said.

Janice Delgado thanks donors like Anthony who helped her back, neck, and legs heal again.

“In a space of about three years, I had three different surgeries in which I received tissue from a donor,” Delgado said.

The nurse now advocates for people to check "yes" to organ donation on your driver’s license or state I.D. card.

“You can make the difference in somebody’s life," Delgado said.

Right now, there are about 800 people on the Utah transplant waiting list and more than 500 people waiting for a kidney in Utah, including Keith Robinson, a military veteran.

“I just had a leg amputation back on October 27th. I’m just hoping someday that I could get a kidney soon. It’s not a fun life just going to dialysis four hours a day,” said Robinson.

In 2015, more than 1,000 Utahns benefited from cornea transplants. The Yes Utah Donor Registry encourages people to think twice about being an organ donor.

Saying "yes" helps families honor their loved ones.

“You can give life. There is life outside of the sorrow and that's what brings us happiness,” said Stephens.

To learn more about the Yes Utah Donor Registry, go to www.yesutah.org.