PALMA CEIA – Chris Charles Daniels saved the lives of four others – even though doctors couldn’t save his.
Daniels’ mother, Christine Daniels, said five of her 18-year-old son’s organs went to four recipients following his death in early 2012, something she calls “every mother’s nightmare.”
Daniels of Thonotosassa shared the story of her son recently with about 75 guests at Tampa General Hospital’s 40th anniversary celebration of its Kidney Transplant Program at Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club.
The “donor mom” said by donating the Strawberry Crest High School senior’s organ after he was declared brain dead following an accident, “it helps to know in these tragic circumstances, something good can happen.”
Victor D. Bowers, executive director of the hospital’s abdominal transplant program, said testimony such as hers helps bring understanding to the importance of organ donations.
“It takes the scientists, surgeons and donors to make transplants happen,” Bowers told the guests, following a standing ovation for Daniels.
The June 19 event was in remembrance of the first kidney transplant at the hospital on June 18, 1974, which involved a living donor. Since then more than 5,000 kidney transplants, using living and deceased donors, have been performed with the longest surviving recipient living 39 years.
In 1983, the hospital performed its first pediatric kidney transplant and done 200 of them since then, Bowers said.
The hospital, which performed its first heart transplant in 1985 and has performed more than 1,150 of them, also performs liver, pancreas and lung transplants.