Stories of Hope

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.

Date of transplant: 5/4/2015

Received: Double-lung transplant

How Jo Ann's life has changed: She says, "I've learned through it all that it's the little things in life that mean so much. Enjoy life, don't take anything for granted, smila and laugh more, don't stress and don't worry."

Date of death: 5/3/2015

Donated: Eyes, tissue and skin

About Joseph: He saw life in a way others couldn’t understand. Joseph never held a grudge and he saw beauty in everything. Whoever received his eyes is so lucky to see the world through them.

Date of death: 1/17/2015

Donated: Bone, tissue and retinas

About Dave: Says Dave's wife, Ingrid, "My husband had a beautiful heart. He was hard working and admired by many. He had a gorgeous country singing voice and his eyes sparkled blue, hence his nickname Sparky. He was a foreman in the oilfield in West Texas. Dearly loved and missed every day! He was always my hero and now he's become one for someone else. I am so proud to have been his wife!"


Date of death: 12/5/2005

Donated: Tissue and other

About Anthony: Says Anthony's mother, Lelia: "Our 15-year-old son, Anthony, had an old soul, a gentle heart and a beautiful smile as big as Texas. He stood up for the underdogs and made others smile when they were having a bad day. He watched over his younger siblings; he was our angel on Earth until God called him home unexpectedly.

Liver, Kidney and Tissue Donor
Dec. 9, 2006

Teresa Jester, 50, lost her whole world on Dec. 9, 2006 – the day her only child died.

Justin “Cody” Looper, 21, loved the outdoors and wanted to be a game warden. The college student was on his way to a deer hunting trip when his truck was struck by an 18-wheeler.

“Cody wanted a camo wedding,” Teresa recalled. “Instead, Cody had a camo funeral.”

For years, Teresa had primarily been known as “Cody’s mom.” Now she had to rebuild her life and her identity. 

Advocate and Recipient Son (Robert) 
Double-lung Recipient (Paul), Feb. 15, 2012 
Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas

Robert Boudwin, 40, lives to make people laugh. You probably know him better as a giant teddy bear named Clutch – the Houston Rockets mascot. Robert helped create the character, has been playing it for 20 years and, in 2006, was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame. He’s famous for his silly skits, player pranks and cake-in-the-face antics. But in 2012, things got serious for Robert. 

Heart Recipient (Wayne), June 23, 1997 
St. Paul University Hospital (UT Southwestern), Dallas, Texas

Wayne Battles, 55, went in for a routine physical only to learn he had congestive heart failure. By March 1997, he was on the waiting list for a heart. 

But Wayne’s family – including his wife, Sharon, whom he’d known since birth – feared it was already too late. The very next day, he was removed from the waiting list due to a leaking right valve. During surgery to fix the valve, Wayne slipped into a semi coma. 

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