Tissue Transplant Allows Recipient a Proper Proposal

Rus and BrideIn 2002 when Russ Stoneking was 25, he fell from a sixth floor balcony. “I hit my head on the fourth story balcony and landed in the lobby on polished marble.” His heart stopped beating for one minute and 23 seconds. He broke 74 bones and suffered from a collapsed lung and internal bleeding. Russ was in a coma for two weeks. He was given an 80 percent chance of never walking again and told he’d never regain the use of his right arm. “The first thing I thought of is how am I going to make a living now. I had been a home builder since I was 18 and had no secondary education.”

 Over the next year, Russ taught himself to walk again, and function with his left hand. He even went back to school and pursued a degree in architecture, but he did not regain the function of his right arm. His doctor said Russ’s arm had heterotopic ossification, which meant the arm had fused itself at the elbow at a 90-degree angle. Russ taught himself to write, draw and even shave with his left hand. Russ’s condition made social situations awkward because he did not have what he thought was a proper handshake.

 In 2008, Russ fell again, but this time he fell deeply in love and wanted to ask for his girlfriend’s hand in marriage. “I wanted to do the honorable thing and ask her father. This undoubtedly meant a handshake. I know this may seem trivial to some, but there is nothing more defining about a first impression than a handshake and a straight look in the eyes. Call it vanity or pride, but I could not ask the father of my future bride for her hand in marriage with a handshake like that. I was deeply in love and would do anything to spend the rest of my life with her.”

 Russ set out to get his arm “fixed.” Since the year of Russ’s accident, he learned from his doctor that a new procedure had become available. According to his doctor, it came with it a 15 percent success rate and a year of rehab. Russ wanted to do it. The procedure required a donated Achilles tendon. This surgery had only been done a handful of times and never on someone with a condition like Russ’s. “A donor was found, and three months later, I was standing in front of a man I had never met before asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage, looking him in the eye and reaching out with my right hand.”

 Russ has started to remodel homes again, throw baseballs to his nephews, hold babies, write with his right hand and wipe happy tears from his wife’s eyes on their wedding day. “Someone’s loved one gave me a selfless gift, the gift of a second chance.”

 

 Tissue Donation – Offering a Framework for Life

 Although it can be a challenging subject, this is an important decision and it’s vital that you make your wishes known.  There are several ways you can do this and we are happy to present your options when you’re ready to move forward. 

 Our years of experience have taught us that people have misconceptions and benefit from learning how life changing this choice can be. The word “tissue” is a broad term that covers everything, except organs, that modern medicine knows how to transplant.

 Tissue donation is a gift worth giving. Donated heart valves grow with young patients so that future surgeries may be avoided. Vein grafts restore impaired blood circulation. And cornea transplants allow those with an injured eye to see again.

 SETATo ensure that your questions are answered accurately and that all services are done professionally, we have partnered with the Southeast Tissue Alliance (SETA), a nonprofit dedicated for more than 25 years to educating the community about tissue donation and monitoring recovery to comply with government regulations. By working together, Anderson-McQueen and SETA offer the peace of mind you need to comfortably make this incredible gift.

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