Stories of Hope

Donor Family
Lubbock, Texas

Christopher “Toadbucket” Barnes
Organ and Tissue Donor
January 13, 2007

Conner Barnes and his little brother Christopher were inseparable. But in 2007, at age 7, Conner and his parents, Gail and Jody, faced tragedy; Christopher was in a car accident. After a week in the pediatric ICU, the 4-year-old passed away.

Liver Recipient
March 31, 2015
Texas Children’s Hospital
Houston, Texas
Justin Stout, 14, is a lot like other kids his age. He loves playing video games with friends, building forts and watching Aggie football games. He dreams of one day attending Texas A&M University and becoming an oncologist. But one thing sets him apart. Justin is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL – which led him into acute liver failure and a coma.

Twin Brother of Donor
Crowley, Texas

Cash Cooper
Organ and Tissue Donor
July 15, 2014

Heart Recipient
July 3, 2011
Texas Children’s Hospital
Houston, Texas

Kate Nalley was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy at only five weeks old; one of the ventricles in her heart was too enlarged to pump enough blood to her body. Just a few short weeks after diagnosis, the newborn girl was placed on the waiting list for a heart.

Brother of Donor
Houston, Texas

Fernanda "Fergy" Rodriguez 
Tissue Donor
September 29, 2011

Fernanda "Fergy" Rodriguez was something special. At only 15 months old, she was always smiling at the sky, talking to God and dancing to hymns. When a car accident took her life in September 2011, Fergy’s parents, Nancy and David, knew she’d simply gone home. They agreed to donate the tissues of their only child to help up to 80 people. 

Donor Family
Hobbs, New Mexico

Caleb Martin
Organ and Tissue Donor
August 24, 2013

Caleb Martin was a generous 15-year-old. He kept busy playing basketball, going to church and spending time with family and friends, but he always found time to help others. He often shared his lunch money with other kids at school.

Kidney Recipient, February 15, 2012
Texas Children’s Hospital
Houston, Texas

Ian Heidemann
Organ Donor, February 14, 2012

Roger and Judy Crone have a special heart for helping kids. After raising five of their own, they decided they weren’t done; they started fostering. In particular, they have a passion for helping kids with serious medical conditions, so when they heard about a baby named Delton, who was stuck in the hospital with bilateral renal cystic dysplasia and no parents, they decided to step in.

Liver Recipient, March 23, 2013
Texas Children’s Hospital
Houston, Texas

Julia Wardwell
Organ Donor, March 23, 2013

Elise Babin was born in October 2011, five weeks early. She spent 14 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) fighting pneumonia, jaundice and low oxygen saturation before doctors sent Elise and her relieved parents, David and Erin, home with a clean bill of health and instructions to plump up.

Future Heart Recipient
Sugar Land, Texas

Fatma and Sancak Yuskel moved to America from Turkey with their three children, Melik, Selcen and Yagmur, in 2003. But Fatma says it wasn’t until five years later that she truly realized why they were meant to be in the U.S. Their fourth child, Elif, was born in 2008 with a rare heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The left side of Elif’s heart was critically underdeveloped, and she had to go into surgery immediately.

Liver Recipient, March 21, 2013, and Son of Donor
Texas Children’s Hospital
Houston, Texas

Alfredo Espinoza
Eye and Tissue Donor, September 22, 2014

Elsy Espinoza says that organ and tissue donation is “the most rewarding gift anyone can give and receive.”

She knows better than most; she’s seen both sides.

Elsy’s son, Caleb, was diagnosed with liver cancer shortly after being born, and Elsy and her husband, Alfredo, faced the frightening possibility of losing their baby.

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