University Medical Center Foundation

Donate Life

Jones ChildrenIn January, a tragic fire ripped through a Northeast home. Neighbors and bystanders frantically tried to warn the family but, to no avail. All five family members were trapped inside. Following the rescue by the fire department, two grandparents and three grandchildren were sent to various hospitals. Two children, Isaiah and Eboney Jones were sent to UMC. Deman Jones was flown to the Harnar Burn Center in Lubbock. On life support and in critical condition sadly, none of the family survived. Luis Matos, the children’s grieving father, made the decision to donate his children’s organs and tissue. As a result over 50 recipients benefited from his decision. “Once I knew that there was no hope, I knew donating their organs was the right decision,” said Luis.

Donate LifeIn the state of Texas alone, there are two hundred children waiting for an organ donation, according to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Of those children, 30 to 50 percent may not receive an organ. Organ donation advocates hope that this month, they can increase awareness and register more people to donate organs and tissue. “In our experience, donating a child’s organs when a child dies is the one thing that actually helps the adults who are suffering the loss.  Many parents or guardians feel strongly that donation helps their grieving experience and they feel tremendous comfort knowing their loved one is helping others,” said Pam Silvestri of the Southwest Transplant Alliance, UMC’s organ donation agency.

Registering in Texas has gotten simpler.  If you register to be a donor when you apply for or renew your driver license or identification card at your local DPS office, there will be an organ donor indicator on your license or identification card. No further action is required on your part. Your intention to be a donor is activated immediately after your information is entered into the Glenda Dawson Donate Life – Texas Registry.

Luis Matos says he is a registered organ donor, which is why the decision for his children was clear. “They were giving kids, always lending a helping hand. It makes me happy to know they are still giving, even though they are no longer here,” said Luis.