14 Amazing Quotes About Organ Donors for National Donor Day

For many of us, February 14 represents more than roses and candy hearts. National Donor Day occurs on this date every year. This awareness day provides an opportunity for transplant recipients and their families to celebrate the selfless gifts of living and deceased organ donors who gave them a ‘second chance at life.’

It can be difficult to understand the impact of organ donation until you experience it yourself. When he received our 2017 Help Award, our client Bill Soloway repeatedly recognized the immense impact his heart donor has had on his life.

Skip to 3:20 to hear Bill’s thoughts:

14 Favorite Quotes About Organ Donors

“I believe we got married for a reason: she was sent down from heaven to be my angel.”

-Derek Avillanoza on receiving a kidney from his wife

A part of the Southwest Kidney Transplant Fund

“I am living proof of what an organ donor can do. It is a chance at a better life.”

-Lauren Arkens on lungs received from a deceased donor to combat cystic fibrosis

A part of the North-Central Lung Transplant Fund

“My kidney donor exemplified unconditional love toward me. She did the most selfless thing one can do for another: she was willing to lay down her life as she donated one of her kidneys to me.”

-James Michael McLester on his “angel” living kidney donor and best friend Laura Workman

A part of the South-Central Kidney Transplant Fund

“Amy and I share a bond that is not comparable, even to a sister or your best female friend. She has given me a part of her. She has given me life.”

-Deb Brock on her living kidney donor Amy Krontz, who did not meet Debra until she was approved as a living donor

A part of the Great Lakes Kidney Transplant Fund

“In my eyes, the donor family was so brave to go through such a time while also making decisions that would forever change my life and the lives of possibly many others.”

-Kathe Wimberly Neely on gratitude for her donor family that made her kidney/pancreas transplant possible

A part of the South-Atlantic Kidney/Pancreas Transplant Fund

“Every breath is a gift.”

-Amy E Burriss on lungs she received from a deceased donor

A part of the South-Atlantic Lung Transplant Fund


“I want to let the donor and their family know they are giving a gift only they, God, and the medical teams can give. [It is] a gift there are no words for. Thank you just doesn’t say enough.”

-Children of Monty Scott on the donor heart their father is waiting for

A part of the Northeast Heart/Kidney Transplant Fund


“Maria hates being called a hero. But she’s reluctantly agreed to the title superhero instead.”

-Liz Casperite on her living kidney donor Maria Weaver-Hollowniczky

A part of the Mid-Atlantic Kidney Transplant Fund

“That donor didn’t just impact Bill; he impacted Bill’s family, friends, the people who had yet to become Bill’s family and friends, including his future grandchildren. A donor’s impact is still being felt many years later. They have left a legacy not many can claim.”

-Pat McEntee on the impact of a deceased donor on his transplant mentor Bill Westerman

A part of the Great Lakes Heart Transplant Fund

“I had a living liver donor. Her name is Madalyn and she is my hero.”

-Amanda Washek, transplanted in April 2015

A part of the South-Atlantic Liver Transplant Fund

“Every day my donor will be on my mind and in my prayers. My donor is what lifts me.”

-Annie McMahon on her deceased lung donor

A part of the New York Lung Transplant Fund

“Every day I wake up thankful for the opportunity my dad has given me.”

-Christopher Anthony Zerfass on receiving a kidney from his father

A part of the Mid-Atlantic Kidney Transplant Fund

“I thank God and my donor every minute of the day for my life. I have had a second chance at life.”

-Josh Bulvin, who received a donor heart in March 2010

A part of the Mid-Atlantic Heart Transplant Fund

“This was the greatest gift our family could ever receive.”

-Victor Melendez on receiving a deceased donor’s kidney

A part of the New York Kidney Transplant Fund

Whether you are a transplant candidate on the waiting list, a grateful recipient, a selfless organ donor or member of a donor family, we are glad to be part of the incredible journey that is transplantation. If you have an organ donation story you’d like to share, email us, and you could be featured on our blog during National Donate Life Month in April.

In Remembrance of Art

“The measure of a man is in the lives he’s touched.” Ernie Banks.

This past weekend we celebrated the life and memory of a “man of excellence”—our dear friend and longtime board member Arthur H. Rainey.

Arthur Art Rainey

Art was a proud Help Hope Live supporter and beloved friend

Art passed away peacefully at his home on December 17, 2017, surrounded by the love of his family. He was 74.

Family, friends, peers, and colleagues gathered Saturday to remember the man who touched their lives and thousands more through his nearly two decades of volunteer service for Help Hope Live. Art was remembered as “a man of excellence” and integrity, pragmatic and smart, who loved the law, his family, friends and community, and baseball.

Art joined the board of directors for Help Hope Live (then dba National Transplant Assistance Fund) in 2001. He was inspired to support our mission by his personal experience with transplantation—at the time, his wife, Nancy, was awaiting her second kidney transplant.

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Art was instrumental in the evolution of the board. He helped frame their strategic vision through his work on the Strategic Planning Committee; provided personal insight on how the organization should expand its services; helped set investment policies and internal controls through his role on the Finance Committee, and utilized his background as a corporate lawyer to amend the organization’s bylaws to support strategic growth.

Throughout his long tenure with Help Hope Live, Art was nominated for and served in several leadership roles, including vice chair (2005-2008) and chair (2008-2014). He was a familiar and friendly face at our annual fundraising events and a top supporter of our signature benefit, Live It Up!. Art and Nancy were also members of the Kolff Society, Help Hope Live’s most prestigious giving society named in honor of the generosity and commitment of the organization’s founders.

These words to Art from Stephanie McAlaine, a fellow Help Hope Live board member, express some of his immense personal and professional impact:

You have always lent such a great sense of statesmanship, precision, and fairness to your role on the board and it’s one that I strive to replicate and learn from.  

I appreciate the time you’ve given so easily to the Help Hope Live community – clients, staff and fellow board members.  One of the greatest gifts of life lies in being aware that we can leverage every encounter we have with a new person – through work, family, service, social – as an opportunity to learn more, become better, and grow. I thank you for being one of those people I’ve been lucky enough to encounter and learn from.

You’ve taught me, through your service, more about the role of generosity of spirit and giving back in a productive and thoughtful way, not just in a financial or task-oriented way.  

When so many stepped back, you stepped forward with this spirit and determination – thank you for laying down a path that others may follow in leadership and service.

Art Rainey ribbon cutting

Art cutting the ribbon at an Open House to commemorate our new headquarters in 2012.

As recently as September, Art was a member of the board, remaining active even after Nancy passed away in January 2017, just months shy of their 50th wedding anniversary.

Even in memory, Art and Nancy continue to support Help Hope Live today through bequests and others financial gifts we continue to receive in tribute to their lives. We are forever grateful for their commitment and compassion for our cause.

Memorial contributions may be made in Art’s honor to:

Help Hope Live

2 Radnor Corporate Center, Suite 100

100 Matsonford Road

Radnor, PA 19087

What Brings You Joy This Holiday Season?

For many of us, the holiday season represents a time for gratitude and hope for a brighter new year.

For our clients, these sentiments are year-long, thanks to the generosity of our most loyal supporters who “help hope live” through their donations. To capture their gratitude, each year we ask a Help Hope Live client to contribute artwork and share their story for our annual holiday card to donors.

We were delighted this year to have Kathe Wimberly Neely as our featured client-artist.

Help Hope Live Holiday Card: 2017

This year’s card features an original holiday design complete with whimsical trees and festive stars, all wrapped in warm red, white, and Help Hope Live’s signature teal. Inside, the card reads, “Whatever the reason, we hope you find joy this holiday season.”

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An Artist’s Story of New Life

As the back of our holiday card explains, Kathe Neely is a part of our South-Atlantic Transplant Fund. In 2015, she followed her dream and published a collection of her work in an adult coloring book called Late Nite Doodles (now in its second series). In 2017, Kathe had another dream realized when she received a lifesaving transplant.

Kathe Wimberly Neely Help Hope Live

“Pay it forward!” Kathe’s custom plate encourages

This holiday season, Kathe is celebrating the joy of having eight months with her new kidney and pancreas.

Life is grand…each and every person I know and love brings sunshine to my life. I have met many new people along my journey, each one adding new rays and brightness to my appreciative and over-flowing heart.”

We were delighted to have Kathe’s help creating our one-of-a-kind holiday card for 2017. Here’s a look at the special designs we’ve used in the past with help from Help Hope Live clients and supporters!

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The Art of Fundraising

As Kathe puts it, “being hooked up to a dialysis machine for ten hours every night, drawing was a great way to focus on something other than my illness while being productive in a creative and fulfilling way.” She’s not the only Help Hope Live client to find hope (and fundraising help) in art:

Jane Koza is living in a nursing home as she copes with the devastating effects of transverse myelitis. Jane sells her intricate coloring projects: she colors enlarged adult coloring pages, frames the pieces, and offer them in exchange for Help Hope Live donations to the Mid-Atlantic Catastrophic Illness Fund. The projects unlock her creativity and give her community members a new avenue for support (and an attractive home decoration or gift for their friends!)

Tree of Life, colored by Jane Koza

“Tree of Life,” colored by Jane Koza

The Tommy’s Team adult coloring book was created with love by Jack Plaxe to help Tommy McGuire, a 24-year-old young man who sustained a spinal cord injury in 2016. All royalties from this intricate coloring book are donated to Help Hope Live in honor of Tommy via the New York Spinal Cord Injury Fund. As one purchaser noted, the book helps doodlers to “feel encouraged not to give up on small challenges when compared to what Tommy faces.”

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A Season of Giving

If you want to help more clients find joy in 2018 and beyond, consider pledging your support to Help Hope Live this holiday season. Your donations help ensure medical care stays within reach for people like Kathe, Jane, and Tommy by funding one-on-one fundraising and financial support during what can be the most difficult time of an individual’s life.

Pledge to give $100 to Help Hope Live and become a member of our #HelpfulHundred. You can amplify your impact by asking friends and family members to join you. Learn more at https://helphopelive.org/helpful-hundred

Welcome, Kelly!

Our Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Kelly L. Green as the new executive director of Help Hope Live.

Kelly Green

Kelly joins our organization with excitement and passion for the mission. She feels honored to be able to lead an organization whose services she personally utilized to assist with her mother’s kidney transplant in 2007. She has tremendous respect for the work of the staff and board as well as the generous supporters who make these vital services possible.

Kelly describes herself as a mother, a daughter of her hero, a battle-tested unifier, and a thought leader. She has more than 20 years’ experience working in and leading nonprofit organizations and has been extremely active in community service.

As the CEO and founder of Go Green Consulting, Kelly has worked with a broad range of nonprofit organizations, providing strategic development, fundraising support, executive coaching, board development, and staff management services. She has demonstrated impressive vision, courage, and competence in restructuring organizations to create greater efficiencies and more responsive and effective services.

In the last decade, Kelly has also proudly served as the CEO of Variety – The Children’s Charity, director of Montgomery County, PA Voters Services, and deputy director for the Institute for the Study of Civic Values in Philadelphia. She has contributed her time to many civic endeavors, including serving as president of the League of Women Voters of Philadelphia and as an investigator for the Philadelphia Bar Association Judicial Selection and Review Committee. She also designed and painted a local community mural to inspire peace; serves on a board to work with homeless veterans; and is a longtime supporter of the Gift of Life Family House, which provides lodging and support for families of transplant patients seeking treatment in Philadelphia.

Kelly has a degree in administrative justice from Penn State University and earned certifications in program development and anti-violence training from Temple University while working toward her MSW.

She lives in Philadelphia and has an amazing daughter, Maya, and a pet frog, Bloopy.

On behalf of our staff and board, please join us in giving Kelly a warm welcome!

How to Fundraise on Facebook on #GivingTuesday: FAQs

We’ve got big news! For one day only on #GivingTuesday on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, you will be able to use Facebook to start a Fundraiser for your Help Hope Live campaign. To take advantage of this limited fundraising opportunity, you must contact us for key instructions. Failure to notify Help Hope Live will exclude you from this offer. Here’s what you need to know…

What are the benefits of using Facebook Fundraisers this November 28?

  1. Facebook is waiving all fees for donations made to nonprofits on Facebook this #GivingTuesday.
  2. Starting at 8 a.m. EST (5 a.m. PST) on #GivingTuesday, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be matching donations to U.S. nonprofits made through Facebook while funds last (up to $1,000 per Fundraiser, $50,000 per nonprofit, and $2 million in total).

Do I have to participate?

Creating a Facebook Fundraiser on November 28 is completely optional. Questions to consider:

  • Are you comfortable using Facebook?
  • Do you have an engaged list of Facebook friends who will help support and share your Fundraiser for Help Hope Live?
  • Are you aware that funds raised through Facebook may not reach your Help Hope Live campaign for 90 days? Read below:How soon will the funds be available?”

If you choose not to participate, you can still enjoy our #tealdeal: we waive the credit card fee for all donations at helphopelive.org in your honor on November 28.

How can I get started?

1. Contact us to talk about your plans to participate

2. Spread the word about #GivingTuesday on Facebook

3. On November 28, at any point in the day, create a Facebook Fundraiser and select Help Hope Live as the beneficiary.

Create a Facebook Fundraiser by tapping Raise Money


Tap Get Started


Tap Nonprofit


Find and select Help Hope Live

4. Add to the Fundraiser page “in honor of [your full name]”

5. Add to the Fundraiser page the name of your regionally restricted fund (for example, a part of the Mid-Atlantic Liver Transplant Fund). You can find this information on your Help Hope Live Campaign Page)


Be sure to include your name and the regionally restricted fund name


5. Share the Facebook Fundraiser with as many people as possible!

6. At the end of the day, take a screenshot of your Facebook Fundraising dashboard showing the total amount raised through your November 28 Facebook Fundraiser.


Take a screenshot that shows the total amount raised on November 28


7. Email the screenshot to [email protected] with the subject line: Facebook Fundraiser

8. When the funds raised are made available to Help Hope Live, you will see a new entry on the List of Contributors via your Campaign Dashboard.

There are a few important guidelines you must follow to be eligible for this opportunity: You must contact us to express interest in this opportunity.

  • You must be actively fundraising with Help Hope Live (at least one donation has been made in your honor)
  • You must mention your name and your Help Hope Live regionally restricted fund on the Facebook Fundraiser page


Find your regionally restricted fund name at the top of your campaign page


  • You must email a screenshot of the total funds raised to [email protected] within 72 hours of November 28
  • If you do not send us your screenshot on November 28, we may ask you to verify individual donation amounts to ensure all donations were made on November 28

What happens if I do not follow these guidelines for Facebook Fundraising?

If you do not adhere to these guidelines, we cannot guarantee that funds raised through Facebook Fundraising will be available to help with your medical and related costs. Funds raised outside of our guidelines through Facebook Fundraising will still come to Help Hope Live, but those funds will benefit our General Operating Fund to help support our work and mission.

How can I find out if I am eligible for matching funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?

Help Hope Live is not given any information about specific Facebook Fundraisers. All donations we receive through Facebook come to us as one lump sum. You will need to use Facebook’s reporting tools or contact the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation directly to for information about matching funds.

Will I be able to continue fundraising on Facebook after November 28?

You will not be able to continue fundraising on Facebook after #GivingTuesday. Funds raised through a Facebook Fundraiser for Help Hope Live after midnight EST on November 28 will be given to the Help Hope Live General Operating Fund and will not come to Help Hope Live in your honor.

Unfortunately, Facebook currently does not provide an avenue for fundraising that is fully compatible with our Help Hope Live administrative process. We will make this option available in the future when we can.

How soon will the funds be available?

Funds raised through Facebook are collected by the nonprofit Network For Good and then sent to Help Hope Live in a lump sum. Help Hope Live cannot control how long it takes for funds to arrive from Network For Good. Expect to wait up to 90 days for Help Hope Live to receive the funds you raise on November 28…

Help Hope Live has no control over matching funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We cannot guarantee that any contributions made on Facebook will be matched, nor can we provide an exact timeline for when eligible matching donations will become available to Help Hope Live for medical and related expenses.

Will I be able to see who donated?

You will be able to see donor names and donation amounts through Facebook only. Once we have received and processed donations from your Fundraiser (which, again, may take up to 90 days), the funds will appear on your Help Hope Live List of Contributors as a single entry: Facebook Fundraiser. Make sure you carefully record the information you get on Facebook for sending out thank-you notes or other gift acknowledgements.

Does Facebook take a fee?

Facebook has agreed to waive their administrative fee for all donations made to charities on November 28. Other fees may apply, such as a Network for Good payment processing fee, depending on the donor’s payment method and other factors. Help Hope Live does not receive information regarding fees that occur through Facebook Fundraiser donations.

Does Help Hope Live take a fee?

Help Hope Live’s low 5% administrative fee will be applied to funds raised through Facebook.

Who should I contact if I have additional questions?

Email [email protected] if you have any questions about this opportunity.

We look forward to seeing your Facebook Fundraisers in action on November 28! Best of luck!

American Veterans Need Our Help

November 11 is Veterans Day. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day was established in 1954 to recognize all individuals who have served America in uniform. Today, we acknowledge both veterans and their families not just on November 11 but all month long.

Veterans Day is a powerful opportunity to learn about the secret struggles many veterans face after serving our country – just ask these three Help Hope Live veterans facing lifelong medical challenges of their own.

Name: Renee Whisner

How Renee Served: Worked in logistics in the U.S. Air Force for four years ensuring soldiers had the weapons they needed during Desert Storm.

Renee Fundraises for Help Hope Live: To provide financial assistance for specialized physical therapy to gain mobility and independence after a spinal cord injury.

Daily Challenges: After a spinal cord injury, “the Renee I see in my head is not the same Renee I see in the mirror.”

Renee struggles with a host of physical issues since a cab driver crashed into a tree with Renee in the cab, leaving her with paralysis from the chest down.

What You Don’t Know About Me: “People think soldiers have a lot of financial support, or that we try to milk the government for everything it has. We are simply hoping to get what we were guaranteed when we signed up to protect and serve our country. That’s not to mention the role of post-traumatic stress disorder and the ways it affects us, our friends, and our family members.”

Name: Mary Orr

How Mary Served: Worked in hospital wards and clinics and provided physical and occupational therapy. Also worked as a systems analyst and taught leadership classes at the Naval School of Health Sciences.

Mary Fundraises for Help Hope Live: To cover treatment, medications, and supplements for Parkinson’s disease.

Daily Challenges: “I have limited windows of functionality where I can go to appointments on top of taking care of normal activities of daily living. I am often incapacitated or housebound and in chronic, severe pain.”

What You Don’t Know About Me: “Everyone thinks veterans get excellent, affordable medical care. This is not the truth for all conditions. Since most of the newer treatments that could help me are not approved by the FDA, I have to pay for them entirely out of my own pocket. My retirement pension only covers the cost of rent.”

Name: Michael Carns

How Michael Served: Trained personnel how to detect and defeat IEDs and overcome vehicle rollovers.

He Fundraises for Help Hope Live: To offset the cost of physical therapy and equipment needed to improve balance and mobility issues due to multiple sclerosis.

Daily Challenges: “While contending with pain and massive expenses, I have been in a four-year struggle with the Veterans Administration to cover everything from a torn ACL to a hernia as a result of my multiple sclerosis diagnosis.”

What You Don’t Know About Me: “Veterans fight on the front lines and still fight upon their return for all that was promised when they enlisted. Veterans struggle financially every day and frequently have to contend with inefficiency, bureaucracy, and red tape to get our medical needs met.”

Four Powerful Ways to Help Veterans Today

  1. Donate to a Nonprofit Cause

If you have the resources, consider making a donation to your favorite charity today in honor of the men and women who serve our country.

If you’d like to donate to Help Hope Live to help our nonprofit support veterans and civilians facing a medical crisis, visit www.helphopelive.org and click Donate. Your support is deeply appreciated.

  1. Volunteer

Find local veterans groups online to see how you can donate your time to help support veterans in need.

“Simple things we take for granted are impossible,” explained Mary, “like going to the store, taking your granddaughter to a movie, or going out to dinner.”  Your time could help to put new activities and experiences within reach for veterans with limited mobility or resources.

  1. Be There

If you have an opportunity to support a veteran simply with your presence and a listening ear, take it. Our client Joey Walker, a former military diver, believes “all veterans have emotional and physical issues connected to their service. The best way to help is to listen, and be a friend. Just be there.”

  1. Say Thanks

“We are grandmas, grandpas, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters,” said Renee. “We don’t expect to be thanked, but it’s nice to be thought about.”

If you have the opportunity today, thank a veteran. You may never know how much your words help.

They put it all on the line to support our nation. Let’s take the opportunity to give back. Follow these tips, or find your own special way to celebrate Veterans Day this year.

Warrior Momz are Walking 3,000 Miles for an Incredible Cause

Kay Ledson is a mom on a mission.

In 2000, Kay was a successful financial consultant when she got a phone call that would change her family’s life. Her son, Josh, had sustained a spinal cord injury in a winter sports accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

Doctors told Kay her son would spend the rest of his life confined to his bed with less than a 3% chance of recovering any mobility or independence—essentially, a death sentence for the Australian extreme sports athlete.

Despite the shocking prognosis, Kay committed herself to hope, and Josh committed himself to intense rehabilitation in mind, body, and soul.

Less than 5 months later, Kay and Josh walked out of the hospital together.

Josh Wood, Kay’s son, stands next to his canes, braces, and wheelchair.

Kay believes the intensive activity-based therapies she advocated for her son helped him take back his independence and should be accessible to every injured individual who might benefit.

While therapy can help improve bone density, muscle mass, range of motion, balance, stress management, and overall health for individuals living with a spinal cord injury, it is not often covered by health insurance.

That’s why Kay started her incredible quest to walk 3,177 miles across America to raise funds and awareness for activity-based therapy and “Warrior Momz” like her who want to open doors for their families after a catastrophic injury.

Fighting for Change

Kay started her Warrior Momz Walk in southern California on September 22, 2017. By Halloween, she had made her way to New Mexico. Kay will continue to walk east, tracking her progress along the way, to her final destination in Washington, D.C. in March. There she plans to unite with other “Warriors” to share her mission with legislators in the hopes they will help make potentially life-changing therapies easier to access for all people impacted by spinal cord injury.

Kay, right, walks with fellow Warrior Mom Debbie Flynn, vice president of the QUAD Foundation, which helps people with spinal cord injuries access physical therapy resources.

Activity-based therapy often comes with a massive price tag. Based on Help Hope Live’s experience helping families cover uninsured expenses, one year of therapy can cost between $20,000 and $40,000 out-of-pocket.

Donations made in support of Kay’s Warrior Momz Walk to the QUAD Foundation will help make grants and scholarships available for individuals to attend activity-based therapy programs.

Partnering with Help Hope Live

Kay is partnering with Help Hope Live to help our clients who are impacted by spinal cord injury create fundraisers around her walk.

“If you get 100 people to pledge just $0.10 for each mile I walk, you will raise over $31,000 for Help Hope Live to fund unmet SCI expenses,” said Kay. “That’s enough to offset an entire year of intensive physical therapy!”

Warrior Momz unite in their shared mission to fund spinal cord injury therapy

How can you get involved? Contact your Help Hope Live Client Services Coordinator to start planning a fundraiser around the Warrior Momz Walk.

  • Plan a virtual walk
    Ask participants to pledge donations to your Help Hope Live campaign for each mile Kay walks.
  • Engage your local cycle bar or gym
    About hosting a fitness fundraiser where their members and your guests can walk, run, or cycle on pace with Kay–who plans to tackle 22 miles a day!
  • Meet up with Kay
    Follow Warrior Momz Walk on Facebook for Kay’s upcoming stops.

Kay’s 3,177-mile journey ends on March 18, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

Help Hope Live is proud to be partnering with Kay, her team of volunteers, and fellow Warrior Momz, dads, brothers, and sisters across the U.S. on this epic quest to raise awareness and funds to help families affected by spinal cord injury. 

We can’t wait to meet Kay at the finish line in D.C. this March! Want to meet us there? Email [email protected] to express your interest.