Stories of Heroes

Organ, tissue and cornea donation and transplantation bring people together through shared emotions and life-changing experiences. That’s why CORE’s network of family and friends continues to grow each year.

The ongoing support of recipients and remembrance of donors brings us all together to laugh and cry as we celebrate and mourn – and ask others to make A Pledge for Life.

SaMaya MartinSaMaya Martin, recipient
Antonela KasicAntonela Kasic, awaiting a transplant

WPXI-TV “Take 5” Videos

Check out these inspirational stories to learn more about how organ donation has impacted the lives of the following individuals:

McKainDanielle McKain and her son, Jameson: Mother of a heart recipient
QuailMike Quail: Father of an organ donor
KasicAntonela Kasic: Awaiting a second intestinal transplant
GoodenRon Gooden: Heart recipient
EnosMisty Enos: Director of Community Outreach & Professional Services
BrownMarty Brown: Awaiting Heart Transplant
FaithJulie and Faith Kilkeary: Heart recipient
DaltonDalton Igoe: Heart Recipient

If you aren’t already a registered organ donor, we hope that these videos inspire you to make the Pledge for Life!

Lynda Zendek

L ZendekWhile dating in college, Steve asked Lynda a question.

“I don’t even remember how we got on the subject. He asks me, ‘Are you an organ donor?’ And I said ‘No I’m not. I haven’t really thought about it.’ And he said, ‘I think it’s a wonderful thing to do – I’m an organ donor and why not, because after you pass away, you can help other people and give them life.’”

That casual conversation in college helped Lynda through the most difficult time in her life when Steve suddenly passed away.

“All I can say is take my husband Steve’s advice. Talk about it with your family. Then make A Pledge for Life.”


Kelli Meerhoff

Kelli remembers the day her daughter, Carly, told her she wanted to have “organ donor” on her brand new license.

“I can still picture a fresh-faced 16-year-old sitting in the sink, close to the bathroom mirror, putting on her makeup. She said simply, ‘Ma, you don’t need that stuff after you’re gone.’”

At 21, Carly died unexpectedly in her sleep.

“When it comes to organ donation, we’d all be a little better off if we could only think a little more like a 16 year-old. Talk about it. Then make A Pledge for Life.”

Taylor Martin

T Martin

“How would you feel if I was the one sick – would you want someone to give me a kidney? Would you want someone to give me a lung?”

That’s the question Taylor asks everyone to think about when she volunteers for CORE.

“If any child goes to their parents with that, I think a parent is going to realize it’s a good thing.”

Taylor, a student at West Virginia University, was inspired at an early age when her grandmother received a kidney from a living donor.

“I’m spreading the word, trying to get people motivated and interested and understand what organ donation is all about. Check the box ‘yes’ and make A Pledge for Life.”


Nikki McKenna

Nikki was 14 when they told her she had kidney disease, and 18 when both kidneys failed completely.

“My dad discovered he was a perfect match for me. He became a living kidney donor. I was the lucky one. I found my hero in my own family. But so many more don’t find a hero in time. Today, I compete in the U.S. Transplant Games to show everyone the benefit of never giving up.”

Organ, tissue and cornea donation is something you should talk about. With your family. With your friends.

“You can make a difference, but you need to register. Make A Pledge for Life. Be a hero.”