Yesterday, I wrote about the cookie drive my friends in my local community hosted for me to raise money for my transplant fund. As I was sitting in the room with a nice table of friends who were joining in the celebration, I kept hearing stories from people who I hadn’t met who were so moved by this effort that they reached out, made donations, & offered assistance. Today, I share with you one of those stories that represents the other side of the gift of life we are given. This comes from our organ & tissue donor families. I am happy to share these stories because I know donor families are considered heroes to many. Yet, not every recipient has the pleasure of communicating with their donors even if they’d wish to. I can only hope I will get the chance with my donor family in the future so they know how much I value them. That said, this particular donor family continues to give not only to their recipients families but others several times over…
Krysta Hankee was a young woman who grew up in the area where I now call my home. Her life was cut short at the age of 22 when she suddenly collapsed in a gym while exercising. She died 5 days later, & her family not only donated her organs, but later founded The Krysta Hankee Memorial Fund, a nonprofit charity. They are very hands-on within my community & surrounding area. Each day they do their best to promote the value of organ & tissue donation. They understand the needs to well from both ends of the spectrum when you find out their full story.
When they read my story in the local newspaper, they later stopped into my local brunch spot a few days before the celebration & check presentation for my cookie drive. The family members involved & active in the foundation generously donated some gift cards that I can use for gas for upcoming medical appointments. Completely unprompted & without even knowing me they gave these gifts, just by being moved to help.
I always knew things like this were possible & I’d seen it before, but it warmed my heart, regardless. Beyond their donations to me (& to others they’ve helped similarly over time), they deserve to be recognized for so much more than their personal care & concern for me….
Take a look at what they’ve accomplished in Krysta’s memory:
– They’ve raised over $80,000 in scholarships & grants since their founding. This annual scholarship goes to a deserving senior at an area high school & a student leader at a local community college who takes an active role in bettering their community though service projects.
– They’ve donated gas & gift cards to the tune of well over 450,000 miles for families to make their medical appointments.
– They’ve given over $6,000 to the transplant house I stayed at during my transplant testing & are part of their volunteer program.
– They’ve received donations of assistance from over 300 people, families & business partners for them to achieve their goals.
All of these gifts stemming from a tragedy of one whose life was cut short way too soon. But what an incredible legacy they’ve left Krysta’s organ & tissue recipients, the community, & other people. She lives on in the heart of all of us daily.
I am so happy that the local news brought us together. What a wonderful caring group of neighbors. Strangers is too cold & impersonal a word to use for such acts of kindness.
For more information on upcoming events & other ways Krysta’s life has touched others, please follow their Facebook page.