A Final Decision Saves A Life
By donating a loved one's organs, one woman saved her coworkers life.
UPPER VALLEY - Chriselda Rincon-Flores holds a organ donor card in her hand. It's a small choice after a life changing experience.
"On April 6th, 2009, my father worked at the oil rigs, and suffered an accident where something fell on his head, and unfortunately on good Friday he was declared brain dead," said Rincon-Flores.
At that same time, a coworker of Rincon-Flores was told her own tragic news. Her liver was failing.
"It's going to be two to ten years waiting period for a transplant, and I was like I might as well prepare for my funeral, ya know that is a long time to wait, I was very sick," said Elizabeth Handy, Liver Transplant Recipient.
Handy needed a liver and Rincon-Flores would soon make the decision that would save Handy's life. The Texas Organ Sharing Alliance asked Rincon-Flores if her family wanted to donate her father's organs.
"It is a very hard decision, and it's a decision that you have to really think, what type of person was the loved one that passed away. My father was a very giving person, he loved life, he loved to help, so that made our decision easier," said Rincon-Flores.
But many people in the valley choose not to donate. There are over 4,000 people on the organ donation waiting list, and last year only 23 people signed up through TOSA to donate.
One of the factors holding back donors, especially among the Hispanic culture is religion. TOSA says many religious people have the idea that a person won't go to heaven if they donate.
"I have to die with my whole body, meaning organs inside, and I have to go like that in order for me to go to heaven. That is not true, the Pope and even the Bishop here in the Valley supports organ donation," said Tricia Barrera, Texas Organ Sharing Alliance Public Relations Coordinator.
In fact, Handy used to be one of these believers too.
"When I heard somebody died and they donated, I had the words, well I wouldn't do that, I mean god gave me those organs and I am going to take them with me, but what I have gone through and what I have seen, I said no, God gave these doctors knowledge, the knowledge to give someone else life," said Handy.
Rincon-Flores and her entire family are now organ donors. She said it is an easy decision now, she only has to look at how her father's liver donation affected Handy.
"Quality time with her husband, quality time with her children, her grand children, her colleagues at work. Ya know, those things don't have a price, and even though my father is not alive he lives through her, and to me that means a lot because if I see her happy I know my dad in heaven is happy for what we did," said Rincon.
You can become an organ donor three different way. First, you can sign up when renewing your drivers license at the Texas Department of Public Safety. Or, you can go to TOSA and fill out the forms. To contact TOSA call (956)-630-0884. You can also go to the Texas Organ Donor website at www.donatelifetexas.org