Chicago Sun-Times

Charles Tillman meets the mother of his daughter's heart donor on Oprah

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I'd heard the remarkable story of Charles Tillman's daughter, Tiana, who received a heart transplant when she was six months old. And I'd attended one of Tillman's events for his Cornerstone Foundation.

But it was powerful television watching Tillman and his wife Jackie meet the mother, who donated her son's heart after she was informed he wouldn't survive.

Tillman said he started to write a letter to the mother, who's name is Magali, but it took him a year to finish it.

"In my words, thank you isn't enough," Tillman said. "I've thought about this day ever since it happened."

It's a moving piece and you can check it out here.

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Watching the Tillman family meet the family of their heart donor really touched me. As a lung transplant recepient myself, I have great empathy towards their feelings about the donor family; it also took me more than a year to send a thank you letter to my donor family. It is very difficult to say thank you for the gift of life. Congratulations to them on their successful transplant experience. May God continue to bless both these families!

An intresting tie into the Tillman story. Is that Walter Payton who died of a rare liver autoimmune disease which lead to his cancer. " Payton spent his final months as an advocate for organ transplants, appearing in many commercials to encourage others to donate organs, although by the time his first appeal was recorded, his illness was already too far advanced for transplantation to have been a viable option."

"Payton's legacy continues through the charitable Walter and Connie Payton Foundation. His own appeals—and after his death, his foundation's—for greater awareness of the need for organ donations are widely credited with bringing national attention to the problem. After his appeals, donations in Illinois skyrocketed, and the regional organ bank of Illinois was overwhelmed with calls. In response, the City of Chicago inserted organ donation requests into city-vehicle-registration mailings in early 2000, and by August 2000, 13,000 people had signed on to the program"

It's intresting to me how one generation can tie to another. Tillman's own foundation does a lot of work with the Paytons and I know they helped him out a lot early on.

I hope that the Tillman's can do something monetary for that woman and her daughter, perhaps set up a college fund for her child and really show their love and appreciation. The woman looked like she had seen a ghost and I guess was still morning, because she didn't really seem too happy. Oprah can usually find the words to say to break an uncomfortable moment, but not this time. My heart heart when I was looking at the piece, but it felt really strange when she came out - that made me feel more bad because I could not feel the joy.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on April 19, 2011 10:22 PM.

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