PITTSBURGH — National Organ Donor Day, which is always recognized on Feb. 14, is an effort to increase awareness about organ, tissue and eye donation.
The day is also meant to recognize those who were donors themselves.
We’re looking back at five local lives impacted by organ donation:
Lucas Goeller was just a toddler when he captured the attention of Pittsburgh, and the entire nation, as he underwent a liver transplant in 2015.
The organ was directly donated to him by the family of 3-year-old Olivia Swedberg, a girl from Nebraska who died less than two months after being diagnosed with brain cancer.
Goeller’s family continues to share updates about him on their Facebook page “Save Lucas Goeller.”
Goeller is now 6-years-old.
Dalton Igoe was 17-years-old in 2014 when he met Valerie Sinclair in Pittsburgh. Sinclair’s daughter died when she was hit by a truck walking home from a school playground.
“I am blessed that my daughter’s heart went to an amazing kid,” she said.
“It’s crazy. It’s emotional. It’s just a great experience to finally meet,” said Igoe.
When she was 2-years-old and in desperate need of a new liver, Emily Smith didn’t know Joseph Osborn.
But when Osborn found out about her story through social media, the Ohio native decided he had to help.
His donation to her in 2018 saved her life.
Shortly thereafter, Osborn got to meet Smith at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville.
The death of Pittsburgh Police Officer Paul Sciullo affected the entire community.
Sciullo was one of three officers shot and killed while responding to a call in Stanton Heights in 2009.
“He always told us he wanted to make a difference, and when he became a police officer he made a difference and being an organ donor, he made, he’s still making a difference,” Sciullo’s father, Max, said in 2019.
Sciullo’s parents also said since their son was killed, 50 people have been impacted by his donations.
Jason Fetter was 7-years-old when he drowned at a swimming camp in 2014.
But as an organ donor, Fetter lives on through his donation of both kidneys and his liver, saving the lives of three others.
“They have that second chance at life, to have a normal life and be able to go on knowing that they saved somebody,” his sister Kaylee Oldham said in 2019.
Oldham added that knowing her brother saved other lives helps their family in their grieving process.
© 2020 © 2020 Cox Media Group