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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast

TRANSPLANT RECIPIENT IS ANOTHER VICTIM

TRAGEDY IN LAKE REMINDS US TO DONATE

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There's virtually nothing positive to take from the tragedy of the plane crash in Lake Michigan. Here's one shot: it reminds us again how important organ donation is, and perhaps may encourage others to consider giving the gift of life.

We now know 6 people died in the crash. Two of them were the aircraft crew. The other 4 were a transplant team from the University of Michigan. They were rushing back with an organ donated by someone here in Wisconsin... to someone clinging to life across the lake.

The issue of organ donation first entered my consciousness when I worked with a woman in Green Bay who is alive today because of a liver transplant. I had never considered donating my organs, or those of loved ones. I met this woman and I signed the back of my driver's license.

Since then, as a reporter I have covered some remarkable stories. I was so touched by the story of former Marquette University Assistant Basketball Coach Trey Schwab (left). Trey coached from the bench with an oxygen tank attached to his face while he courageously waited for a double lung transplant.

He eventually got that gift, and battled life threatening complications to survive. When last I spoke with friends in the MU Athletic Department, they told me Trey was doing well.

Over the years I've spoken with recipients, and families of donors. Recipients have expressed only the utmost gratitude for the second chance they were given.

Donors' families to a person have always shared with me bitter sweet stories of losing someone close to them, but knowing their loved one's gift saved a life, if not several.

It's a highly personal decision to donate one's organs. I guess I'm not trying to change anyone's mind who, for whatever reason, may not wish to donate. I'm mainly raising the point for those who, like me, just hadn't considered it. If you're indifferent, think about signing that driver's license and discussing your wishes with your family.

Thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims of this plane crash... including those who were waiting for the life-saving gift on board.   

More information on organ donation: http://wisdonornetwork.com/

emails: vvitrano@todaystmj4.com

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