Tag Archives: Pat McEntee

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.

Touched by Transplant: Organ Donation Allows You to Leave a Unique Legacy

Patrick McEntee is waiting for a lifesaving heart transplant and is fundraising for transplant-related expenses via the Help Hope Live Great Lakes Heart Transplant Fund. Pat is one of four winners of our 2017 Touched by Transplant “New Life” Contest in honor of April’s Donate Life Month.

Touched by Transplant 2017 Help Hope Live

“In 2003, I began a new career as a high school religion teacher. I was paired with a mentor to help me adjust and learn: Bill Westerman, who, some years earlier, went from selling insurance to teaching the Catholic faith to high school students.

From the beginning, I was inspired by Bill, his passion for teaching, and his faith in God. Little by little, I came to know Bill’s story. In addition to having survived polio as a child, he also survived a heart transplant a few years prior to my meeting with him. His life was not without complications, but he continued to give every ounce of fight he had in him to remain a teacher and remind students, at the end of every class, “Don’t be stupid. And always remember: Mr. Westerman loves you.”

I have been a registered organ donor since I got my driver’s license at 16, but my reasoning for it has evolved in the 26 years since. At first, I simply registered because it seemed like the right thing to do. When I met Bill, my views on the subject of organ, eye, and tissue donation changed drastically.

Pat McEntee

Pat’s reasoning for being an organ donor “changed drastically” after meeting Bill

Bill was a tremendous inspiration and example to me. I couldn’t ignore the fact that I would never have met him if it weren’t for the selfless act of another who chose to be an organ donor. Bill took that person’s selfless gift very seriously. He lived every day to prove that his donor’s gift was being appreciated. He wanted to be a good steward of the gift of life.

I started to see the impact one person could have. Bill is one of just eight people who could have been saved by a single donor. Imagine the other stories that could be shared that are only possible because of one person’s choice!

Bill’s donor, and all organ donors, found a unique way to leave a great legacy, a legacy that would last much longer than their earthly lives. That donor didn’t just impact Bill; he impacted Bill’s family, friends, and people who had yet to BECOME Bill’s family and friends, including his future grandchildren.

Bill taught me a lot about being an effective teacher, but he taught me much more about life and being grateful for the gift of extra time on Earth given through the generosity of a stranger. Often in my life, I recognize God’s presence after the fact. Though I never expected to venture down the same road (as Bill), congenital heart conditions led to me being listed for transplant and receiving an implanted left ventricular assist device (LVAD).

June 5 is Pat’s 1,000th day on the transplant waiting list

Today is my 1,000th day on the heart transplant waiting list. Fortunately, I have the important lessons taught to me by my friend, Bill. I am so grateful for the last two and a half years, which would not have been possible without my LVAD. I have tried to make as much of a positive impact as possible with the extra time that I have been given, a lesson I learned from Bill. Volunteering in my community, particularly with organizations that promote organ, eye, and tissue donation, has given me the opportunity to share my story and to hear the stories of so many others who have been touched by transplant.

Today, both Bill and his donor are gone from this world, but their impact is still being felt many years later. They have left a legacy that not many can claim.

My donor is out there somewhere. I pray for my donor often, though I have no idea who he or she is. I ask all those who pray for me while I wait to pray for my donor too. Without a doubt, the hardest part of the transplant process is knowing that someone will have to die for me to have a chance at a longer and healthier life.

I remind myself that my donor is giving me a gift, and my gratitude for that gift will be shown in the way I use it to make a positive impact on the world. That’s the way Bill did it, and because he did, his organ donor adds a second generation to the impact of his legacy.”

Touched by Transplant 2017 Help Hope LiveThank you, Pat, for your reflections. If this story has impacted your perspective, read more of his story or sign his Guestbook at: https://helphopelive.org/campaign/8748


The 2016 Transplant Games In 3 Words: Joy, Inspiration, Resilience

Every year, the Transplant Games provides an opportunity for transplant recipients and donors to come together to celebrate the gift of life. This year’s Games were held in Cleveland, Ohio from Friday, June 10 to Wednesday, June 15. The Games included over 6,000 registered participants. We interviewed a few HelpHOPELive families who attended and competed in the Games. Here’s how they described the experience.

Transplant Games 2016 HelpHOPELive

Bill Soloway, 1-year post transplant, attended the Transplant Games

What made you want to attend the Transplant Games this year?

Transplant recipient Liz Casperite: I can’t remember the first time I heard about the Games, but I always knew I wanted to attend them after I received a transplant. In order to attend, you need to be at least nine months post-transplant with a doctor’s permission. The cutoff this year was October 1 and my transplant was on September 17, so we just qualified! Cleveland was my first Games, but it won’t be my last.

Liz’s living kidney donor Maria Weaver: As soon as I heard about the Games from my recipient, even before the transplant, I wanted to go! It sounded like an amazing event and a chance to keep exploring my new identity as a living donor while meeting more people in the transplant community.

Transplant Games 2016 HelpHOPELive

The Games took place in Columbus, Ohio in 2016

Transplant candidate Pat McEntee: I first heard about the Transplant Games about a year ago when I met some members of Team Ohio at an event in Columbus. I decided I would attend as either a participant or a supporter. My wife, Amy, and I went as supporters this year and just enjoyed the event, meeting people, sharing our story and listening to others’ stories. The fact that the event was in Cleveland near my transplant center, Cleveland Clinic, was an added bonus just in case I got “the call.” I hope to be able to attend AND participate in the Games in 2018.

What are some of the things you saw at the Games that made you glad you went?

Liz: My donor and I spent time watching track and field and saw some amazing athletes who brought everyone joy and inspiration. There was a woman who ran her first 100-meter dash with the aid of her cane, and a 2-year-old whose dad had to hold him back until it was time to run. These athletes made me see there is nothing I won’t be able to do with my new kidney. My donor and I participated in donor/recipient bowling. We were teamed up with a donor mom and her friend. We had so much fun being terrible bowlers.

Maria: It made me happy to see all the donor families wearing pins for their loved ones and talking about their experiences. Many were able to meet their recipients at the Games and it made me happy to hear and see their relationships. I loved seeing the smiles of the last place finishers as they plugged along the track and the crowd went wild for them! It was all about being there. It was a privilege to talk to people in the “quarter-century club” who had had their transplanted organs for 25 years or more. We heard so many stories.

Transplant Games 2016 HelpHOPELive

“We heard so many stories,” said living donor Maria Weaver

Pat: I was extremely moved by some of the stories I heard both during the Opening Ceremonies and just in talking to people I met. In watching the Games, I was impressed with the camaraderie that took place. After a hard-fought win in a close basketball game, Team Louisiana embraced members of Team Kentucky. It was nice to see people compete hard and win or lose with class.

Transplant Games 2016 HelpHOPELive

“I was impressed with the camaraderie,” said Pat McEntee

Do you think events like the Transplant Games make a difference?

Liz: The Transplant Games made a difference for me because I was able to meet recipients who have had their transplant for more than 40 years and get their advice. I was inspired to train for more events for the next Games. The community was also inspiring. We told our story to many people – Uber drivers, waiters, really anyone we met. The manager of an ice cream shop was so inspired that she volunteered for five hours at the Games the day after we met her!

Maria: I DO! I felt like I was in a protective bubble full of all of the most amazing people in the country. People who were handed crappy circumstances or fear or tragedy let it shape them into strong people full of love. The strength and grace I saw…wow! Puts things in perspective. I posted a lot of pictures and stories to Facebook and I got comments from people who said they felt the love and inspiration just from seeing them. It helped them to see this during a week in which the news was full of tragedy. I came away completely inspired to go back to the Games in 2018, meet up with the amazing people I met and became close to so fast, and do more athletic events!

Transplant Games 2016 HelpHOPELive

“I was inspired,” said transplant recipient Liz Casperite

Pat: I feel like people would come and enjoy themselves even if there was no competition at all. I think everyone realizes that the prize of additional life is already won, so what happens in the Games is inconsequential. Everyone still tries hard and competes hard for whatever reasons they choose, whether it is to honor their donor, celebrate the fact that they can participate or just to have fun.

Transplant Games 2016 HelpHOPELive

Win or lose, “the prize of additional life is already won”

Is there an emotional element to the Games for you?

Liz: The Games was a very emotional experience. The tribute to living and deceased donors was amazing. I was very touched by the stories of the donor families we met over the week. I was inspired by a mom who donated the organs of three of her murdered sons and was still positive and spreading the word about organ donation. As recipients, we are all helping to keep their loved ones alive. We made some great new friends that I can’t wait to see at the next Games.

Transplant Games 2016 HelpHOPELive

“The Games was a very emotional experience,” said Liz Casperite

Maria: I was on a high all week. I’ve never bonded so quickly with strangers. I talked to everyone I could, and hugged, and teared up, and high-fived them. It was really hard to leave, especially leaving my buddies from far away who I likely won’t see for two years. Being there with my recipient and getting to tell our story to people and walk in the 5K with her was priceless.

Pat: I was surprised at how emotional the event was. Even at times when I didn’t expect it, I found myself tearing up. The emotions of joy and laughter were also present throughout the days we spent there.

Transplant Games 2016 HelpHOPELive

Pat and wife Amy experienced a range of intense emotions

How would you sum up the experience in 3 words?

Liz: Inspiring. Fun. Heartbreaking.

Maria: Love. Resilience. Celebration.

Pat: Joy. Camaraderie. Compassion.


What did the Transplant Games mean to you this year?

About The Transplant Games

The Transplant Games is open to athletes with any level of skill with games ranging from cornhole and basketball to track events and swimming. The Games welcomes first-time participants and veterans of all ages, like 4-year-old kidney transplant recipient Cooper, who finished the 23-meter dash grinning. The Games includes donors and recipients from all 50 states as well as multiple countries. There are 21 medal competitions in total and all are free and open to the public.

Transplant Games 2016 HelpHOPELive

The Transplant Games are open to donors and recipients of all ages

Did you participate in the Games this year? How was the experience? Tell us about it on Facebook.