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Tissue Recipient Spotlight: Rhonda Coleman

During the month of August, we recognize and celebrate National Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month, and this year marks the 25th anniversary of the observance. Founded by the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program, the goal of NMDAM is to:

- Educate about organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation

- Encourage donor registration & family conversations about donation

- Promote healthy living and disease prevention to decrease the need for transplantation

An avid volunteer with a passion for helping others, Rhonda Coleman is no stranger to an active lifestyle. In November of 2020, while volunteering with her church’s feeding ministry, Rhonda injured herself suddenly when she took a wrong step out of a van. Due to her high tolerance for pain, Rhonda didn’t initially realize how bad her injury was until her doctor identified an indentation in the back of her leg. After receiving an MRI, it was soon discovered that her Achilles tendon had been torn and she would need surgery to repair the damage, immediately. Her mobility was limited, and Rhonda’s life completely stopped, “Somebody, who's as busy as I am, I had to sit around, and I couldn't do anything.” However, on January 5th, 2021, Rhonda received a life-changing gift through a tissue transplant from a tissue donor.

Rhonda was later able to write a letter to her donor’s family expressing her gratitude for the gift she was given. Through her personal experience, Rhonda now knows the value of donating tissue and is very appreciative of her donor and donor’s family. Currently, Rhonda is getting stronger as she recovers from surgery by attending physical therapy and she is looking forward to the day where she has full mobility. Rhonda says tissue donation is very important and thanks organizations like LifeLink, that educate people about organ, eye and tissue donation.

Each year, approximately 58,000 tissue donors provide lifesaving and healing tissue for transplant and approximately 2.5 million tissue transplants are performed each year. Did you know, you are likely to have a neighbor, friend or even a family member who has received a tissue transplant? According to the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB), this is often a necessary part of medical treatment for a multitude of diseases and injuries, from a bone fracture or ligament repair to heart surgery. Tissue transplantation would not be possible without the generosity of donors who register to save lives and their families who help facilitate the donation process.

One tissue donor can restore health and heal the lives of more than 75 people. Tissue donors are heroes! Register your decision to become an organ, eye and tissue donor today by visiting and don’t forget to share your decision with your family.