Donated tissue gives grandmother a new lease on life

Martha Steele | Tissue Recipient

Martha Steele’s life changed suddenly in December 2017, when she was injured in a car accident. The result was a painful nerve compression injury that sidelined the Air Force veteran, full-time hospital worker, and grandmother of three.

Martha SteeleRelief came several months later — thanks to the amazing gifts from three tissue donors — when Martha underwent a three-level neck fusion operation. The surgery involved removing her damaged discs and replacing them with plates, screws, and donated allograft tissue.

Following the surgery, Martha woke up free of pain for the first time in months. Afterward, she regained a full range of motion and was able to resume all the activities that had kept her busy before the accident. In short, she got her life back.

“I'll never understand how people live a lifetime in pain,” Martha said. “I am so grateful for these gifts to save me from that life.”

The gift of donation means a lot to Martha, not only personally, but also as a healthcare worker. She has had the opportunity to participate in several honor walks, events where hospital staff silently line the hallways to show respect as an organ donor is wheeled from the ICU to the operating room. These somber moments are especially meaningful, because Martha knows first-hand how much the gift of donated organs and tissue can mean to recipients and their families. It is important to her to show her support.

Martha has also reached out to her own donor families through LifeNet Health’s Thanks2You program. She is truly grateful for the donated tissue that restored her health, giving her a second chance at life.