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Say "Yes" Today

Mel Santiago

Hello to July and a new face in the LifeLink® Faces of Transplantation Calendar. Meet Mel Santiago.

Mel Santiago lived with type 1 diabetes since childhood, but complications began when he was around 25, and led to kidney failure. Mel began dialysis in 2009 and his health began to deteriorate. Dialysis became more and more difficult, and Mel even considered stopping treatment.

Just as he was losing hope, Mel received the lifesaving call for a kidney/pancreas transplant. Recovery has not always been easy, but Mel continued to push forward, “I promised myself then that I would never quit, ever again.” Mel honors his donor and the gift he’s been given every chance he gets.

Since his transplant, Mel’s family has grown. He and his wife now have three sons, and Mel enjoys spending time searching for shark teeth, a new hobby the family picked up at the beginning of the COVID - 19 pandemic. Mel hopes the family of his donor understands how much he appreciates the selfless decision that was made. To them, he says, “You gave me another lease on life. Something that I wasn’t expecting and something I’m so blessed to have.”

Register your decision to become an organ, tissue and eye donor, today!