Health Team

Organ Donors Give Gift of Life

Posted August 9, 2007
Updated August 10, 2007

— More than 96,000 men, women and children are on waiting lists for organ transplants, and physicians say an organ donation is among the greatest gifts anyone could ever give.

Allan Marquis used to have an oxygen tank strapped to his side before he received a donated lung. His problems began about 25 years ago with sarcoidosis – tiny, non-cancerous lumps that developed in his lungs – that evolved into pulmonary fibrosis, which involves scarring that limits the transfer of oxygen to the blood.

"I was on a rapid decline, a rapid scale of decline in my lung capacity," he said. "Without the oxygen, I could not function."

Marquis needed a lung transplant at Duke University Hospital. Last October, he was told he had three months to live unless a matching donor was found.

"On Oct. 14, I was called in, " he said, growing very emotional as he recalled the phone call from the Duke transplant program.

His wife, Barbara Marquis, continued for him, "They said we have a potential donor." It was a match.

Lung transplant patients begin with physical therapy before transplantation.

"(The therapy is) to improve their endurance and their strength to be able to tolerate the transplant," WakeMed physical therapist Beth Crumpler said.

When Marquis woke up from surgery, he noticed his oxygen tubes were gone. He no longer needed them.

"He just looked up above and said, 'It's just a miracle,'" Barbara Marquis said.

After 24 sessions of rehabilitation at Duke, Marquis continued regular sessions at WakeMed. He goes three days a week to maintain his fitness level and to honor someone he may never know – his lung donor.

"It's really something I feel I should be doing after receiving the gift of life," he said.

"Thank goodness for the donor, because now we still have a longer life together," Barbara Marquis said.

Anyone who wants to become an organ donor should make his or her wishes known to family members. Marking it on a driver's license isn't enough, organ donation experts said.


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  • gopanthers Aug 12, 2007

    Deb1003 - I would feel the same way that you do but I think I would be upset that I would donate a Kidney and then the Medical Professional's would have the nerve to charge the Family receiving my Kidney. Granted I agree the procedure should be paid for but they should not (if they do) charge anything for my free Kidney (donation). It should be a continued donation to the family receiving it.

  • Deb1003 Aug 12, 2007

    Lady, from my experience, donating my daughter's organs, there was no charge for the donating family. I'm not sure about the receipents family. I found comfort knowing her organs gave others life. I support organ donations 100%.

  • ladyblue Aug 12, 2007

    I may be wrong panther, but from my knowledge the ones receiving the transplant pays for it all. There are grants that also assist in this. I do not think the donor has to pay. Please someone correct me if I am wrong. I was listed as a donor but since I've had cancer I am no longer a candidate. I used to enjoy being able to give blood being B- (15%). I can do neither now. So I'm in process of seeing can I donate my body to UNC or Duke. I still hope it'll be a while before I do this deed. LOL

  • gopanthers Aug 12, 2007

    Question not in the medical profession so honestly don't know. Say you wanted to just donate a Kiddney (before you died) to help someone on a transplant list (just becuase you have a big heart and wanted to help). Do you donate the Kiddney then the doctors and Hospitals turn around and bill the patient for your kiddney when you gave it for free.

  • Deb1003 Aug 11, 2007

    Carolina donor services also picked up the entire bill when we donated our daughter's organs. We were sent a bill at one point and I called Carolina Donor Services and they took care of it all for me including contacting UNC hospital. I later got a letter of apology from the director of the program. We never received another bill.

  • parr4246 Aug 11, 2007

    jkm0101........... Thanks for the information and I'm sorry for the loss of your son.

  • parr4246 Aug 11, 2007

    Mmaker52.................You would think if anyone had to pay it should be the recipient or their insurance company....!!

  • Smorgas_Of_Borg Aug 10, 2007

    "Please don't bury me
    Down in the cold, cold ground;
    No, I'd druther have'm cut me up
    And pass me all around" - John Prine

    Couldn't have said it better myself. :-)

    (FYI: Prine will be in concert at Regency Park next Friday, 08/17)

  • weasleyes Aug 10, 2007

    Is there anyone out there who can answer my question? Thanks.

    I have been an organ donor for over 30 years, and I heartedly (no pun intended) recommend it. My old card, however, allowed me to donate my organs and my body for anatomical research. Last week, some friends told me that this is not possible now. They said that it was either/or, and that medical schools would not accept cadavers without all of the organs, except for the eyes. Can someone tell me where I can go to get accurate information? The person with whom I talked is a miser and his interest was financial; i.e., "If you go to the medical schools, they cremate you for free!" What a reason! Is there a way that I can do both?

  • jkm0101 Aug 10, 2007

    RE comments about medical workers not trying as hard to resuscitate a donor candidate & cost - my son was killed in an accident last year and the ER and ICU staff tried as hard as humanly possible to save him. I was there for most of the time and the level of care from the medical staff couldn't be faulted. Carolina Donor Services picked up all costs after he was pronounced dead. Death, especially that of a young adult, is totally devastating but donating organs to help others have a better chance at life at least draws some good out of an otherwise horrible situation. Registering as an organ donor should be the norm rather than the exception.