Stories of Hope

Donor Mother
Lubbock, Texas

Jaslyn Biera taught her children about kindness, generosity and the importance of family.

“My family was always taught to be there for each other,” she said. “That’s what I instilled in my daughter and son.”

Bone Graft Recipient
Nov. 11, 2007
Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center, Fort Worth

Karen Duncan is no stranger to grief. In fact, she’s spent her life helping people who are dealing with loss. A registered nurse, Karen worked in the trauma and neuro ICU, then in organ and tissue recovery as a hospital liaison at LifeGift, and finally in hospice as an admissions nurse. And she experienced great personal grief when she lost her husband, Clarence “Sonny” Duncan, in 2010.

Waiting for a Kidney
Houston, Texas

Danny Medrano and his wife, Suelen, have a faith that just won’t quit. The young couple met in high school, married five years after graduating, and looked forward to starting a family together. Then, in 2012, their life together took a sudden turn for the worse.

Donor Daughter
Fort Worth, Texas

Azalea Walker’s mother, Tina, taught her about giving in so many ways. Tina served in both the U.S. Navy and Air Force Reserves, where she was a decorated servicewoman. She had a passion for helping children, and spent several years serving as a camp counselor for the DEFY program, a Navy-led initiative for educating youth about drugs. She was also heavily involved in leadership and ministry at Destiny Church in Fort Worth.

Liver Recipient
April 21, 2011
Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Texas

Hope has meant many different things for the family of Sydney Kussler, age 12. When her parents, Jennifer and Harold, first became pregnant with Sydney, they hoped the baby would be healthy. When Sydney was born and diagnosed with biliary atresia, they hoped she’d live to age 2. After a successful Kasai surgery – which involves replacing the blocked bile ducts and gallbladder with a section of the small intestine – at 7 weeks old, they hoped she wouldn’t need a transplant.

Kidney Recipient
Sept. 20, 2014
Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Texas

Fransisco Miguel “Mikey” Diaz was tired. At 19, he was still young, but he’d spent his entire life fighting to live. Diagnosed with spina bifida, Mikey lost a kidney at 3 months old, and his childhood and adolescence revolved around medications and catheters.

Mikey was placed on the waiting list for a new kidney at age 17.

Donor Mother
Fort Worth, Texas

Linda Saulsberry has endured more than any parent ever should. Yet she has never lost her faith, or her dedication to helping others.

Liver Recipient
April 18, 2014
Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center - Fort Worth, Texas

Donnie Speers told his wife, Kathy, he couldn’t fight any more.

It was the night of April 17, 2014. Their journey had started almost a year earlier on May 21, 2013, when Donnie was admitted to the hospital with liver, lung and kidney failure. He was bleeding out of his esophagus. Doctors didn’t think he’d make it through that night, but he did.

Donor Parents
Fort Worth, Texas

Manuel Romero and Lisa Corpus describe hope as weathering a storm, being knocked down, but recognizing God’s rainbow. They would know.

“We found part of our rainbow when we met the young recipient of one of our son’s organs,” Lisa said.

Waiting for a Heart – CHI Baylor St. Luke’s
Houston, Texas

Dr. John Miller thought he was healthy. He ate right, ran mini-triathlons and enjoyed a fast-paced career as a chiropractor. So when he started having chest pains one January morning after a two-mile jog, he didn’t think much of it – until the pains got worse and he found himself in the emergency room fighting a “widow-maker” heart attack. He had 100 percent blockage in a major artery.

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