Donor mom and liver recipient challenge others to 'be the gift' and become organ donors
It's officially the beginning of the giving season and organizers with Donate Life Tennessee want you to 'be the gift' this holiday by signing up to be an organ donor.
The group held a donation drive on Saturday where one donor's mother and a recipient shared how it changed their lives.
Tiki Finlayson was devastated by the loss of her son Kevin eight years ago.
"Kevin was hit and killed by a drunk driver July 31, 2011. He lived less than 32 hours and then passed on August the 31st," she told Channel 3.
Though he's no longer living, she says he's still making her proud.
"My son donated his liver, both kidneys, his pancreas and his heart," she said.
Finlayson told Channel 3 it brings her peace knowing Kevin left a piece of himself behind by donating his organs.
"It was the best gift Kevin could have given me when he died because I get to watch Kevin's recipient. I have a friendship with his heart recipient. We got to meet him 11 months after. It is such a joy to watch him live life, because for me, it's like watching Kevin get to live a little bit of life," she said.
Both she and Lenora Barber, a liver recipient, spent Saturday morning sharing their very different stories at Donate Life Tennessee's organ donation drive.
"I'm just grateful to be alive. I'm almost 10 years post-transplant," Barber said.
She recalled the months she had to endure the pain from her failing liver being unbearable. "It was 10 months of a nightmare."
Even though she didn't know much about the woman who gave her the gift of a new liver, she says they were a perfect match.
"I wouldn't be alive without an organ donor," Barber admitted.
The two women's differing stories come together with hopes that sharing them will encourage more people to be the gift and save a life.
More than 90% of Americans think being an organ and tissue donor is important, but only half are actually registered.
If you're interested in becoming a donor or learning more about the process, click here.