SIMI VALLEY : Dozens Given New Lives by Donor, 19
“I’ll never forget that day,” said Dorothy Glassman, recalling the death of her 19-year-old daughter, Michelle, a year ago.
The Moorpark College student--struck by a car while on a motor scooter near her Simi Valley home--died of head injuries Sept. 22, four days before her 20th birthday.
But as the anniversary of her death approaches, as many as 65 people across the country have gained from Michelle Glassman’s death by receiving transplants of her tissues, bones and organs, Simi Valley Hospital Chaplain Paul Mathis said.
“Michelle was a very compassionate lady,” her mother said. “Michelle told me . . . that if anything ever happened to her, she wanted to donate her body to science.” Within hours of her daughter’s death, Glassman asked officials at Simi Valley Hospital to arrange for as many transplants as possible.
The young woman’s liver saved the life of a 29-year-old mother in Red Lion, Pa. Her right kidney went to a 19-year-old woman in Long Beach who plans to work with handicapped children. A 31-year-old UCLA Medical Center patient, who hopes to open a catering business, received her left kidney. And her corneas restored the sight of two people.
Glassman said that by law she cannot communicate directly with recipients of her daughter’s organs. But the Red Cross and other organizations have sent to her letters describing the age, gender and circumstances of the recipients.
“It would make me feel better to know how these people are doing and more about them. But I can never write directly to them,” she said.
“A death in itself is so terrible,” the mother said. “But without question, I would tell anyone who has lost a loved one to donate because there is such a need.”
“Michelle saved 60 people,” her mother added. “And she’s still alive in other people. That’s what Michelle wanted.”
Organ donor cards and additional information are available by calling Mathis at Simi Valley Hospital, (805) 527-2462, Ext. 7434, or American Red Cross Transplant Services, (213) 739-6500.