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Deanna Casey

On October 28, 2006, Catherine Casey lost her daughter Deanna at the age of sixteen in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. Deanna was on her way home from work when the horrific accident occurred, involving several vehicles and a semi truck.

When Catherine received the heart-wrenching call feared by every parent, she immediately thought of donation. As an officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, Catherine had an understanding of the tragic situation, having witnessed such events firsthand. Upon learning that tissue donation was still an opportunity, Catherine gave her consent. According to Catherine, when Deanna had received her driver’s license, they talked about donation. They both agreed that donation was the right thing to do.

The Casey family takes heart in the fact that Deanna, "one little girl," has touched the lives of so many. "Deanna’s gift of tissue donation has brought me comfort and healing," Catherine said. "I never expected that by saying 'yes' to tissue donation it would take this atrocious tragedy and give a ray of hope for others."

Laurie Wills

Laurie Wills was experiencing extreme pain in her neck, preventing her from carrying out daily tasks such as holding a telephone and working on a computer.

“The pain involved my neck, shoulder and right arm and limited what I could do,” Laurie said. “My range of motion was limited, and the pain and tingling in my right arm and hand did not allow me to hold onto anything for fear I would drop it.”

To fix the problem, Laurie’s doctor recommended cervical spinal surgery, including a tissue implant and placement of a metal plate in her neck. “If I didn’t have surgery I was afraid I would lose my job because I could not work at a desk for any length of time,” Laurie said. “I was also anticipating grandchildren, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to hold them and enjoy them.”

Since her surgery and recovery, Laurie said she feels great and believes that her life has been given back to her. “Now I am able to continue at my job, which requires extensive computer and phone time,” she said.

But most important, Laurie said her transplant has given her the freedom to enjoy her first grandchild. “What a blessing to be able to hold my grandson with no pain and no fear of dropping him. I can’t imagine not being given that opportunity. He is my joy, and I plan on holding him and hugging him for a very long time.”

Pamela Snyder

Tearing ligaments in both knees didn’t slow down Pamela Snyder. An energetic athlete, Pam first tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee playing soccer in high school. Then in college she tore the ACL in her left knee playing flag football. At the time, doctors advised her not to have surgery since the procedure was still considered risky.

Over the next few years, the Atlanta resident continued an active life, running and doing karate. One summer while practicing karate, Pam jumped and kicked, then landed on her left leg. Without an ACL, it promptly gave out on her. She had torn more cartilage in her knee, and her meniscus had flipped up and lodged in her joint, preventing her from bending her leg.

In August, Pam’s doctor was able to arthroscopically replace the ACL with a donated ligament and affix it with donated bone screws. Just two to three weeks after surgery, Pam was in the gym for rehabilitation.

"I healed so much faster than the autograft patients in therapy," Pam said. "I got my flexibility back faster and made progress much more quickly than people who used their own tissue in surgery."

Although her karate days are over, Pam is back to running five miles at a time, and she continues to lift weights in the gym.