remembering our

donor heroes

Sam Darnell

At the age of 22, my beautiful son Sam Darnell made the decision to register to be an organ donor when updating his driver’s license after moving into his own apartment December 28th, 2023. He had graduated from UT-Chattanooga with a Business Management degree and was starting life on his own.  Little did we know that a mere 25 days later, our boy would be gone and we’d be looking at fulfilling his desire to help others. Sam was my precious one and only boy and his dad’s favorite travel and adventure partner.

He was deeply loved by his family and dear friends and appreciated for his thoughtfulness and kindness to others in various roles he held in his life. He experienced a lot in his 22 years and enjoyed many exhilarating adventures around the country, lots of music concerts and theatre shows, and a long list of memorable moments we hold so dear. He had an engineering mind and always loved trains. He was planning to move to Chicago in the future and pursue his dream of working for the Chicago Transit Authority with his plan for improvements to the current rail system. Our Sam was always a truly good friend; he was loyal, intentional, openhearted, and generous in telling all those he loved how he felt about them.

His final act of friendship and care for others was in his decision to be a donor hero. The cardiologist at Erlanger upon examination of Sam’s heart said it was “beautiful.” He had no idea how wholly accurate that statement was! We are grateful for the staff with Tennessee Donor Services for helping us fulfill his wishes and know that our Sam lives on in those of us who loved him so and in those blessed to receive his gifts.

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Saying thank you

Many donor families find that corresponding with the transplant recipient or recipients can be a powerful experience. Donor families can take comfort in sharing stories and sending well wishes to those who live on because of their loved one.

Should you choose to connect, we're here to help. Letters and cards can be a tremendous gift to both the donor families and recipients. To protect everyone, we provide guidelines for communication. Names remain confidential unless both parties agree to share those with one another, and we provide a correspondence address. We are happy to share sample letters to help you get started.

For more information about corresponding with recipients, please call us at 615-564-3649.

We can only do it together

#BeTheGift that saves lives!

When you register as an organ, eye and tissue donor, you leave a lasting legacy and bring hope to those waiting.

To access the National Registry, click here.