Button worn by Sue Doughty with a picture of Melody Ann Benson
Dr. Mark Slaughter
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - You hear the phrase "the gift of life" so much that we almost forget what it means. It was the only option for a group of people who Thursday got to meet the families of those who donated their organs.
There's the family you're born with and the one you pick up along the way through life.
"I have two families," said Sue Doughty, a southern Indiana resident.
Doughty is blessed to be close to both of hers. Her second family is missing a member of theirs.
"I got a liver transplant on May 17, 2005," Doughty said.
Her donor, Melody Ann Benson, made Doughty's life possible. Sue was diagnosed in 1984 with a form of cirrhosis. By 1999 she was in end-stage liver disease.
"Melody was a mother of two," Doughty said. "She had a daughter in high school. She was 43 years old and never went to the doctor because she was too young and she had a stroke from which she was unable to survive."
Doughty knows better than most of us the emotions of the three organ donor families and the people whose lives were saved by their gift as they met off camera Thursday for the first time. Allie Dunn met the parents of the young woman whose heart now keeps her alive.
"It's all just surreal at this point," Dunn said. "I'm just so grateful for what they have done and how they have just continued their daughter's legacy by donating a heart."
The surgeon who performed the transplant at Jewish Hospital, Dr. Mark Slaughter, said even a few more weeks would have probably been too long for Dunn to wait for an organ donor.
"They're not going to be any use to you once you're gone," said Dunn of your organs. "You can help so many other people that you don't even know."
Doughty, who knows that herself, is vowing to help others in her situation.
"I made a pact that I would sign up 100 organ donors and I have done that!" Doughty said.
April is Donate Life Month in Kentucky as the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates tries to sign up more people who would be willing to make that gift. You can do it when you renew your license or online right now by clicking here.
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