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Donor mother honors her son

Donor mother honors her son

Celebrate. Honor. Remember.

Three words that might not always come together in conversation make perfect sense to a family who has been touched by organ donation or transplant. My son, Scott, was an organ and tissue donor in 2011 and I thought I’d never celebrate again. When Scott died, I couldn’t bear to imagine life without my son coming home for the holidays, graduating from high school and then college, and getting married and having kids. For many years, I couldn’t say my son died, I found a million other ways to say it. Death seemed so final and so overwhelmingly sad.

Deanna Santana, mother of organ donor and living donor

Deanna Santana, keynote speaker, 2020 National Tree of Life Celebration

However, my son was an organ and tissue donor, which has given us the opportunity to honor his choice to help others. Our family and his recipients can continue to write his story. His story did not end with his death. Scott gave continued life to five people and we honor Scott’s decision to be an organ donor (he was a minor) and are so proud of him for that choice.

I see my life as B.S. and A.S.—we call it before Scott died and after Scott died. Initially it was unbearable to meet new people who didn’t know my son. How could I be friends with someone who had never seen his grin or beautiful brown eyes? Then, I learned to tell his story and I often hear that people feel like they know him—that is how we remember Scott.

Celebrate. Today we can celebrate all Scott has accomplished even after he died. He saved five lives. He gave sight to two and he healed 73 others. Scott educated me about the need for organ transplants and I became a living kidney donor in 2015. We know countless people who have joined the Donate Life registry because of Scott. Our family celebrates his contributions to this beautiful world of which he is still such a huge part of!


National Tree of Life

UNOS and Donate Life America are partnering to host the “National Tree of Life.” The event will stream live on Dec. 17 starting at 5 p.m. EST, and is open to public. The occasion will celebrate, honor and remember those who’ve given the gift of life.

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