Operation Transplant: It Takes A Village

A flight home from Turkey with 24-hours of no sleep; an urgent answering machine message, “Kath you need to get home now because George is in the hospital and the doctors don’t think he’s going to make it!”; a 366-day tumultuous journey pulling in family, friends, and numerous professionals; e-mail chains; days and nights in emergency rooms, hospitals, and critical and intensive care units; fear, confusion, exhaustion, and moments of hope…. These are only a few of the scenarios that surround how your life can change in only a day.

George is the incredible man who endured a multi-visceral, 4-organ transplant after being diagnosed with Protein C Deficiency, a genetic disorder with no cure. He survived. George survived because of the miracle of life from a beautiful, anonymous teen-aged donor. The tragedy of losing one life and the pain for the victim’s family as you are praying for the survival of your loved one is only one emotional reaction compounded by the constant physical emergencies of the day. And, somehow, I’m the ex-wife who got voted in to make the spur of the moment decisions and spearhead his road to recovery. The desire to give back, to celebrate life, to further awareness around organ donation and transplantation, to thank everyone involved, is the reason we’ve created this Operation Transplant: It Takes A Village fund-raiser. And, yes, it is personal.

When they say, “It takes a village,” this is no exaggeration. The delicate process for the gift of life is a multi-faceted, multi-tiered precarious job that reaches way beyond the patients. It takes medical doctors with different specialties, highly skilled and specialized nurses, staff, education, support systems and so much more. And, the need for transplants is growing every day. According to organdonor.gov as of January 2019 over 113,000 people were on the national transplant registry and although 95% of U.S. adults support organ donation, only 58% are signed up as donors. Every 10 minutes another person is added to the waiting list and the shortage is increasing daily.

Thanks to the blessings of transplant units and those who run them, George now has a wonderful life. In our case, it was the doctors, nurses, and support staff at Mt Sinai and the Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute that helped us get through those intense days. They remain a group we are connected with to this day.

When your life has been completely changed, by the love given to you from strangers, you make it a life goal to give back.

Donations will go to the Transplant Recipients International Organization (TRIO), an established charity that has an international and time-tested reach.  We chose this organization in particular because they are “committed to improving the quality of life of transplant candidates, recipients, their families and the families of organ and tissue donors.”  Their mission is to promote awareness, offer support, provide education and participate in advocacy, internationally and in local communities.

We want their work to continue to flourish and it is our way of thanking all the incredible staff, doctors, nurses, administrators, family members, friends, organ donor families themselves and everyone we met along the way. Without the various forms of support, this difficult journey would have been even harder. From personal experience, we can say that every member of our ‘village’ helped to give us all peace of mind and helped make us stronger to be able to be there for George.

You can read about George’s entire intense and tumultuous journey in an incredible book written by award-winning author Katherine Egan (Genetics Isn’t Everything: How to make Your G-E-N-E-S Fit You; George’s ex-wife), called It Takes Guts coming out later this year, with all proceeds going to TRIO (in honor of George and the Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute at Mt Sinai Hospital, where George had his surgery).  We want you to get to know and love George, learn about his bravery despite how hard his healing was, the life-and-death daily choices, and how his story can help other transplant recipients and the lives of those they touch.

And finally, with our hearts full of gratitude, we want you to know that organ donation does not go against any religion and it does save precious lives.

No contribution is too big or too small. What one does quietly, even silently, is seen by the Universe as an act of compassion for its own merit. Every organ can breathe new life and if reading this message inspires you to just update your driver’s license and become an organ donor – that is a wonderful thing. If you feel you can afford a financial donation, we promise it will be put to good use. 

The funds raised will go into TRIO’s General Treasury Account, which provides resources for:

1-   Supporting transplant candidates, recipients, donors and their families

2-   TRIO’s scholarship program

3-   Education and awareness around organ transplantation

4-   Advocating for immunosuppressive drug coverage and for other bills of concern to candidates, recipients, donors, and donor families.

We hope this fund-raiser and It Takes Guts inspire you as much as we are in awe of George. We see him struggle, we see him thrive, and we see him celebrate life – with joy and gratitude – every single day.


From his most ardent admirers – Thank you!
  • Cheryl McNeil  
    • $50 
    • 12 mos
  • Lawrence King 
    • $85 
    • 29 mos
  • Inna Rozentsvit 
    • $100 
    • 30 mos
  • Orian Breaux 
    • $50 
    • 30 mos
  • Lori Adcock 
    • $200 
    • 30 mos
See all


Katherine Egan 
Bronxville, NY
Transplant Recipients International Organization 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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