Skip to content
Donor Stories

I Dash For: My mom, a recipient and donor

My mom was the life of the party. When she was around there was never a dull moment. My mom was Bobbi Shaffer, a 12-year heart recipient and, in her death, a tissue and cornea donor. This is her story.

Throughout my mom’s childhood, she was told she had asthma. She treated the condition and tried to work out to improve her stamina, but even with her best efforts nothing helped her condition. It wasn’t until 2001 when she passed out at work that doctors discovered she had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – she was told she had the heart of a 70-year-old at the age of 20.

Bobbi 2011 NA Walking ClassicHer condition wasn’t treatable, so she managed as best as she could until December 2002 when she was placed on the national transplant waiting list. I was seven and remember it like it was yesterday. Mom was so sick, I had to help her with almost everything.

My mom’s life was saved on February 17, 2003 by a heroic donor. She immediately felt better and set out to make a difference. She started volunteering for Lifeline of Ohio to spread the word on organ, eye and tissue donation. She ran three half marathons and multiple 5K races. Most notably, she was one of only 33 women to give birth to a child after a heart transplant. My brother, Gavin, was born five years after she received the Gift of Life.

Quite simply, she was very grateful for her second chance at life and always strived to make her donor proud.

f35454Unfortunately, after 12 years with her Gift of Life, my mom passed away March 7, 2016 at the age of 36. The loss of my mom has been very hard, but I take comfort in the fact that she has gone on to save and heal others through tissue and cornea donation. We know that she has restored sight for two individuals, and has healed countless others through the donation of her tissue and heart valves.

To honor mom, we have formed Bobbi’s “It’s all about me” Squad for the Dash for Donation. It’s something she would often say, but we all knew that it wasn’t about her – it was about her helping others. My family and friends will be taking part in the Dash to not only honor her memory, but to continue my mom’s passion, by taking the Donate Life message to the streets of downtown Columbus.

I invite you to register to be a donor today. Be a hero like my mom and her donor.

Find other stories