Even at her sickest, Juana Hernandez believed in helping her family and community. With her donor's kidney, she has much more energy to continue serving those around her.
When Mackenzie was just 16, he decided to register as a donor. Almost 10 years later, a tragic accident and brain injury led to him giving the gifts of life and sight.
Nicknamed “The Flash” because from the time he could walk, he was so fast and busy, Mackenzie lived a full and active life. He loved to have fun, whether it was playing basketball, hiking, riding a motorcycle, or having a good IPA. He was a deeply loving person with a giving spirit, and as his parents Tim and Wendy share, “He ended every conversation with ‘love you’ to his family and friends. He was always the first person to help someone in need.”
When Mackenzie was 25, he had a tragic accident which resulted in a traumatic brain injury. He had been a fighter his whole life, and this time was no different. He was life-flighted to a trauma center and had two brain surgeries. For 11 days, he was in the Intensive Care Unit at Oregon Health & Science University, but eventually, it became clear to doctors that he would not recover. After a beautiful honor walk with his family at his side, Mackenzie became a donor hero.
Mackenzie’s parents describe him as “full of life and adventure,” and now his life and adventure and spirit go on through four others. Two people received his kidneys. His right kidney went to a married mother in her forties who had been on dialysis for six years. His left kidney went to a man in his forties who was a restaurant owner and had been on dialysis almost four years. Two people also received the gift of sight through his corneas.
Tim and Wendy miss their son every day and always will. They have, however, found solace through their son’s gifts. They explain, “Our son is a true hero, and his gift of organ and cornea donation inspires us every day knowing that the worst tragedy a parent can ever experience can somehow be used as a positive force for good.”
The Hoover Family encourages others: “If you are not signed up for organ, eye, and tissue donation, please do. We often take for granted our lives and the quality of life…. You could save lives!”