VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (April 1, 2019) — Lt. Pat Tauro, a retired Norfolk police officer, knows firsthand about the gift of organ, eye and tissue donation. More than three decades ago, the stress of his job and a family history of health challenges left him with a failing heart. He received a second chance at life in early 1986. It was the final, selfless gift of a 19-year-old athlete who died in a motorcycle accident.
Tauro is among those celebrating National Donate Life Month this April. It is held annually to share awareness of organ, tissue and cornea donation and to honor the selfless donors who chose to give.
“I may be 81 years old, but my heart is only 52,” said Tauro. At 33 years post-transplant, he is among the longest-living heart recipients. In fact, he’s approaching the record for living with a donated heart — 34 years and 261 days. Tauro credits his longevity and good health to the strong, healthy young man who helped save his life.
Today, more than 2,500 Virginians are waiting for transplants across the commonwealth. Registering as a donor is a simple act that has the potential for a tremendous impact. One donor can save nine lives through organ donation and restore the health of more than 150 through tissue donation. This April, LifeNet Health is encouraging everyone to register as a donor and share your decision with family and friends.
“Hope is the most precious gift of all,” said Rony Thomas, LifeNet Health President and CEO. “It’s something each of us can give by registering as a donor and letting your loved ones know of your wishes. Each gift, whether an organ, tissues or cells, has the power to change the course of someone else’s life for the better.”
For more information about organ and tissue donation and to register as a donor, go to RegisterMe.org. You can also sign up to be a donor the next time you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles.