The Greatest Gift


By Bobby Horn Jr.


I was so excited to see the recent list of registered organ donors in Texas has topped eight million people. This is incredible.

I cannot think of a greater gift that a person can give then to literally give of themselves for another.

We have all heard stories on the news, on TV shows and the movies about people waiting for transplants but it does not become real for you until it hits close to home.

It hit too close to home for me some years ago. My sister battled and overcame breast cancer, but in her fight the chemotherapy irreparably damaged her heart. She was given an artificial heart as a temporary solution until a transplant could be located.

For more than a year she wheeled around a device the size of a small suitcase on wheels while she waited for that call that would change her life- we have a heart.

A young man, in his mid-20s, at some point decided to sign up as an organ donor. I don’t know who he was or why he made that decision but I thank God he did.  It was a Friday night and a family got the worse call they could. Their son was involved an auto accident and did not make it. That was followed by the next call, “we have a heart for you, get to Austin as fast as you can.”

While one family mourned, another held its collective breath in anticipation. Yes, the tissue was a match. The transplant operation would be successful.

Because of that young man’s choice, my sister was given two more years of life- two more years to spend with her children and grandchildren, her niece and her friends.

If you have never thought of becoming an organ donor, please consider it.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are 121,483 people on waiting lists for organ transplants. It is estimated that 22 people will die each day waiting on an organ and that one organ donor can save as many as eight lives.

When people think of organ donors, they often think of the “big” organs: kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and intestines. However, donors can also provide heart valves, bones, tendons, skin, veins and ligaments.

One person can improve the quality of life for so many.

Becoming an organ donor is easy. People can register with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (when you do you get a red heart on your driver’s license), at or (in Spanish). Once you register let your family know as well.

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