Chelsey Godsey’s family was devastated when she died after collapsing suddenly at age 21. In spite of their shock, the decision to donate her organs and tissue was an easy one. “Chelsey became a donor when she was 18 years old,” her mother Tammy said. “She came home and told me, and she was so happy. Chelsey was a very giving individual, almost to a fault. She would give the shirt off her back.”
Chelsey's gifts helped at least 200 others — including five people who were saved through organ donation.
One of those who received a second chance at life was Patty Furey, who was born with cystic fibrosis. Her can-do attitude had propelled her forward — despite the occasional hospitalization — but by her late 30s, the disease was getting progressively worse. “I came into lung failure,” she said. “Without a transplant, I would not have seen 40 years old.”
Patty’s transplant came in the nick of time, after she had been given last rites and family members had been called in to say goodbye, in November 2017. “The most exciting part for me is when I was able to get off the supplemental oxygen,” she said. “I was filled with endless joy.”
Following the transplant, Patty was able to take part in activities that would have been out of reach before. One year afterward, she ran her first 5K. “Receiving life from Chelsey is truly the greatest gift,” she said. “I honor Chelsey every day by waking up and being a better person.”
Tammy finds comfort in knowing her daughter has helped so many others. She was thrilled when Patty reached out to her through a letter. Since then, the two have connected in person, and now they view each other as extended family. “To know that your loved one lives on, it has given me hope,” Tammy said. “That’s what it’s all about, helping others and loving others.”