WEXFORD, Pa. — A Donate Life flag outside Allegheny Health Network’s Health and Wellness Pavilion in Wexford represents a pledge for life, as organ recipients and families of those who donated shared their powerful stories Thursday morning.
It was an emotional morning for Melvin Protzman, who received a kidney from a living donor in 2020 and a heart in 2011 from Brian Hensell, 24, who died in a car accident.
“He’s a part of me. This is why I do what I do…so Brian lives on,” said Protzman. “It changed me big time. I look at life altogether differently,”
Others like Hensell are also living on, with their faces on a quilt displayed in the lobby Thursday morning, remembered and honored by those in attendance.
“We want to celebrate the people who made that sacrifice,” said Dr. Allan Klapper, president of AHN Wexford.
Four years after the tragic death of Aleksander Teimouri, 22, his mother still shares his story, in hopes of inspiring others to become organ donors.
“He was riding his bicycle on Rochester Road in Cranberry, and he was hit from behind by a drunk driver,” said Dr. Christina Teimouri. “Through a horrible tragedy, you are still able to find hope and give life.”
Alek was able to hang on long enough to give the gift of life: a heart went to one man, a kidney and liver to another.
“By giving this gift to this man, he was able to be with his 17 grandchildren,” Teimouri said. “Such deserving wonderful people were able to be helped through Aleksander’s gifts.”
A similar event was also held at Forbes Hospital in Monroeville.
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