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Gift of life came from tragic holiday
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Last year the family of 11-year-old Mariah Izzo had to make the most difficult and heartbreaking decision of their lives.

Do they spare the organs of the preteen girl that was, by all rights, supposed to live through the accident which claimed her young life last Christmas Eve?

They chose to share what remained of the bubbly young girl with the world, and on Christmas Eve the Bulletin received a letter that originated from Sierra Donor Network and outlined how each individual donation has benefitted a person, and therefore a family, and how each of those recipients is doing.

No names were used, and the letter, which was attached to an email and sent to The Bulletin, included a section written for Izzo’s family.

“On behalf of Sierra Donor Services I wish to express to you and your family our deepest sympathies upon the terrible sad death of your daughter, Mariah,” the letter wrote. “No words of mine, no matter how genuine and heartfelt, can diminish the sorrow, grief, and shock of losing a loved one so suddenly. Your family has suffered a tremendous loss. And yet, in the midst of your deepest sadness, you rose to unimaginable generosity and compassion on behalf of others in need. I can only express, in all humility, my most profound gratitude.”

The name of the person from Sierra Donor Services who sent the letter was removed before it was sent to The Bulletin.

It contained the following information about recipients and their current state of health:

An 11-year-old boy was the recipient of Mariah’s liver. “This young man will grow up knowing that a young hero saved his life. Stories will be told for many generations of your daughter’s precious lifesaving gift. The transplant team reports that the recipient is recovering very well.”

The right kidney recipient is a 23-year-old man. “No doubt, while on the transplant waiting list he wondered if he would be touched by the kindness and generosity of others. You have returned this young man back to his family and they are forever grateful for thinking of others during what must have been for you and your family an impossible moment of pain and loss.

The left kidney recipient is a 67-year-old man. He is married with two adult-aged daughters and will now be able to spend time with his granddaughter. Prior to his illness he enjoyed gardening and working out at the gym, and looks forward to a new lease on life without the need for daily dialysis.

A 10-year-old girl received Mariah’s heart. Thanks to her gift, she has the chance of finally living a full and active life. “This little girl enjoys listening to music and I am sure that now includes the beat of her new heart thanks to Mariah and your family. The transplant team reports she is recovering very well.”