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Donor Stories

The Power of Donation

ABOVE: Cathy Van Horn has served as Lifeline of Ohio’s donation liaison at Berger Health System for 25 years.

Organ and tissue donation is important to me not just because it is a part of my job, but because it has also touched me personally.

I am an RN and Lead Patient Care Coordinator at Berger Hospital in Circleville, Ohio. In my position I serve as a donation liaison with Lifeline of Ohio, facilitating the donation process at our hospital. I’m also a Designated Requestor for the Central Ohio Lion’s Eye Bank which means I’m trained to discuss eye donation opportunities with families at our hospital.

In 2003 my husband, Rich, was a cornea donor. Rich and I were married for 24 years and he was a wonderful person and a loving husband. As a park ranger he was able to enjoy the beauty of nature to the fullest. His love of nature spilled into his personal life too, as he rehabilitated birds in his spare time.

Rich had always been a registered donor and it was nice to know we could honor his wishes to donate after his death. I had been working with Lifeline of Ohio for about 18 years and when my husband passed away, so I was well aware of the impact he could make by donating his corneas. It is really comforting to know that he could potentially give someone the opportunity to read again or see their loved ones.

Over the years at Berger Hospital, it has been a privilege to have helped so many of our patients honor their loved ones’ wishes to be a donor. I see donation as an opportunity to offer families the chance to have something positive come out of their loss and I know that the “Gift of Life” helps families heal.

My role in the donation process leaves me feeling honored and blessed. I am so touched every time I hear the survival stories of transplant recipients and the stories of our donor families. My personal experience with the power of donation has enhanced my ability to talk to these families and assist them in their personal grieving process.

I am an advocate of donation; I am a registered donor and hope I have the opportunity to give the “Gift of Life” after my death. I know some people are hesitant to register as donors, thinking emergency room doctors might “let them go” to recover their organs and tissues. I can firmly attest that is NOT the case. As medical professionals, our first priority is the life in front of us, and our staff does everything they can to save the lives of our patients before donation is ever considered.

You have the power to be a hero, like my husband was, by registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor.

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