Inspired by her Son’s Legacy Donor Mother Becomes Altruistic Kidney Donor

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Kidney Chain Will Save Four Other Lives

Sacramento/San Francisco – Deanna Santana knows firsthand about sitting vigil beside a hospital bed hoping for a miracle. Her son, 17-year-old Scott Santana, was in a fatal car accident on May 17, 2011. For five agonizing days, she and her family prayed for him to recover.

“We prayed for a miracle,” recalls Deanna. “The miracle came, but not in the form we had hoped.”

Scott had signed up to be an organ and tissue donor the previous year. His family honored his wishes when he passed away on May 21, 2011.

“On the day we received the worst news of our lives, five other families were getting the best news of their life,” says Deanna.

In fact, Scott saved five lives as an organ donor, restored sight to two others as a cornea donor, and improved more than 70 lives through tissue donation

And now, Deanna will amplify her son’s life-giving legacy by altruistically donating one of her kidneys. Her donation will begin a kidney chain to save four other lives at the California Pacific Medical Center on Friday, September 18.

“Altruistic donors create a unique situation that greatly opens up possibilities for pairing incompatible donors and recipients, often benefiting the most difficult to match recipients,” said Steven Katznelson, MD, medical director of CPMC’s Kidney Transplant Program. “Without an altruistic donor many recipients could wait on the kidney transplant list for years. In some cases they may never have gotten a second chance at life.”

Deanna says that following Scott’s accident, she and her husband Rich looked for meaning behind his seemingly senseless accident. Scott had not been texting, talking on the phone, doing drugs or drinking. The one good thing that came out of the tragedy was his donation of life to others. And that’s where the Santanas found meaning and a cause they could take forward.

“My parenting philosophy has always been, ‘Find the good in every situation – no mater if it’s a sports injury, failing a class, whatever – what’s the lesson?’ When Scott died, our family needed to find meaning to share with his friends and our community. Donation was the lesson. People could give life to others. And now, I can give life to another.”

Following Scott’s death, Deanna, her husband Rich, and 25-year-old daughter Marissa, along with her husband Matt became volunteers for the local organ, eye and tissue recovery agency, Sierra Donor Services. And when a job in public education opened up there, Deanna knew it was meant to be hers.

“Scott’s death altered the course of my life,” says Deanna.

This year Deanna was elected to the prestigious national governing board for donations nationwide, the United Network for Organ Sharing, based in Richmond, Virginia. Not only that, she and her family will be featured in a revered national magazine article next year with three of Scott’s organ recipients.

Deanna, who is a humble person, says she is doing all of this so that others might be inspired to give life, as well. She encourages everyone to sign up to give life through the DMV when obtaining a license or online:

As Deanna puts it, “It’s Scott’s legacy – living and giving life to the fullest extent possible. I believe that philosophy has the power to change the world.”

**Sierra Donor Services is a Dialysis Clinic Inc. Donor Services (DCIDS) subsidiary. SDS is a nonprofit agency dedicated to meeting the needs of the community by providing families the option of organ and tissue donation for transplantation and research. SDS serves Northern Nevada and Inland Northern California.

**California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) – A Sutter Health Affiliate

At San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center, we believe in the power of medicine. We research the most up-to-date treatments, hire the most qualified individuals, and practice the most modern, innovative medicine available. We deliver the highest-quality expert care with kindness and compassion in acute, post-acute and outpatient services, as well as preventive and complementary medicine. As one of California’s largest private, community-based, not-for-profit, teaching medical centers, we are able to reach deep into our community to provide education, screening and financial support in some of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. Like us on Facebook, watch us on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and visit us on the web at