One in a million:
a donor’s mother becomes an advocate
for donation and transplantation

The generosity of donors and their families makes the lifesaving and life-healing miracle of transplantation possible. We humbly and gratefully recognize the Colorado and Wyoming residents who make the choice to register as donors, and their families. One local hero who went on to heal others after her death is Kathleen Shannon, born in Powell, Wyoming.

Kathleen excelled academically, had an active social life, and participated in church and youth groups. She loved nature and the mountains and worked for two summers in Yellowstone Park. After graduating from Texas Tech University with honors, Kathleen moved to Denver because she missed the mountains. She worked for Wells Fargo Bank for 10 years before becoming ill and passing away on September 23, 2008. She was only 31. Following Kathleen’s passing, her mother Pat Thomas learned that Kathleen was able to donate heart valves, bone and skin grafts and both corneas to others in need.

Following Kathleen’s gifts of life after death, Pat made it her mission to encourage everyone to register as organ and tissue donors.

“I wrote 28 letters to newspapers in Wyoming and Montana and was pleased when several papers did articles on Kathleen’s story,” Pat said. “My husband and I spend the winter in Arizona and got three papers to do articles there. A TV station in Phoenix picked up the story and I was on the evening news asking folks to sign up to be organ donors. Never in my life had I ever written a letter to a newspaper, never mind be on television. One never knows what life if going to throw at you. I have met so many wonderful folks on my journey. Celebrating with those who received the gift of life and cried with other donor family members, especially donor moms.”

Pat summed up: “the cause of donation and transplantation has meant so much to me. It gives me an opportunity to do something so special in Kathleen’s memory. I just wanted something good to come out of our tragedy. I know Kathleen would be so happy she was able to help the 20 people who received her tissue and 2 people who received her corneas.”

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