When Renee Rhodes and her husband Travis married in October 1992, she knew she wanted to be an organ and tissue donor. Travis, however, wasn't so sure, "Take with me what I had when I came into this world."
His thinking started to change after their son’s May 2000 birth. For their 10-year anniversary, Renee and Travis planned a celebratory cruise. Since they would be traveling without their son, they wrote a will and filled out other legal documents. At that time, the topic of organ and tissue donation came up again. With the perspective of being a father, Travis wondered: what if it was my son who needed an organ or tissue? Then he made his decision.
When Travis died in a boating accident on August 6, 2003, Renee already knew what to say when LOPA approached her with the opportunity for her husband to be a tissue donor. She knew that by saying yes, Travis would be helping someone else out there.
"There was a lot of pain, sorrow and grief,” Renee said. "But there also was a lot of happiness and positive things that came out of this tragedy. It made me realize that life is so short. We have to enjoy the time we have left, spend more time with the ones we care about, and remember that we only get one shot on earth. By saying yes to organ and tissue donation, we may be giving someone else a second shot at life!”
Renee now works part time at LOPA reaching out to the community and sharing her story. "I never imagined that I could make a difference just by saying yes. It’s an amazing feeling. The impact that donation can have on us is what we make of it. I choose to look at the positive that came out of this tragedy and to live life to the fullest. Somehow, hopefully, I can make others see the difference when we say yes to organ and tissue donation.”