James and Linda Rogers
One year after his lifesaving gift of a kidney for her in 2004
James Rogers had watched his wife face challenge after challenge with her health. Linda originally had a kidney transplant in 1995 using a deceased donor kidney. Although James was supportive through it all, he could only do so much to help her. However, when doctors told his wife that she needed yet another kidney transplant, James did more than offer his support. He offered her new life. James Rogers of Lake Forest is one of a growing number of living kidney donors. Today's living donors do not have to be blood related, which gives friends and spouses, like James, the chance to give a loved one a gift like no other.
"My wife has regained her health and quality of life," says James. "When I saw her after the surgery, I broke down and cried," he recalls. "She felt and looked so much better with a healthy kidney again."
Linda and James also have a special place in their heart for those who helped them through the transplant experience. "From the doctors to the nurses on the floor, everyone provided such wonderful, compassionate care," says Linda.
Father Elly Tavarro
Fifteen years ago, Elly Tavarro, a young chaplain, became the "chosen one" in more than one way.
His sister, Ritcha, was a nurse at St. Joseph Hospital when she developed kidney problems following the delivery of her first child.
However, after delivering her second child at the age of 33, Ritcha's kidney problems worsened and she experienced complete kidney failure. She turned to her six siblings for help, but Elly was the only donor match.
Father Elly, who was then living in the Philipines, journeyed to St. Joseph Hospital for the surgery. On December 21, 1990, Father Elly and his sister underwent the surgery for the kidney transplant. Father Elly remembers the day like it was yesterday. After waking from surgery, he asked the nurse if his sister was okay. The nurse responded, "Of course she is okay, she received a holy kidney from a priest." Both siblings have remained in great health ever since the transplant. Today, Ritcha is a nurse in Saudi Arabia.
Three months following surgery, Father Elly applied to be a chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital, the same place where the surgery took place and, has been a priest there ever since. To this day, St. Joseph Hospital continuously asks Father Elly to share his experience and provide guidance to living donors. His message is, "God does not want your organs in heaven. He doesn't need your body; he only needs your soul."
As a result of his organ donation and his work at St. Joseph Hospital over the past 15 years, Father Elly was honored by St. Joseph Hospital and One Legacy, a nonprofit transplant donor network serving 18 million people throughout Southern California. As an honoree, he rode on the 2007 Donate Life Rose Parade Float. In fact, he was the first priest ever to do so.
Father Elly and others have made a life-saving difference through organ donation.