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- Donations: How you can help
At first glance, Jim Quinn blends in with the rest of the staff at Rhode Island Hospital, where he works as a supervisor in supply chain operations. But if you take a moment to chat with the 57 year-old West Warwick resident, you’ll hear the extraordinary story of a man who was given a second lease on life.
Back in 2010, Quinn inexplicably started gaining weight and generally not feeling well. His doctor found that his liver had stopped functioning properly. Fluid was accumulating in his belly and the rest of his body, due to blocked veins in the liver and reduced blood protein levels. He was added to the wait list for liver and kidney transplants.
On June 3, 2011, Quinn traveled to Boston, where he received the lifesaving transplants he needed to survive. Three years later, he is still filled with emotion when speaking about his donor, a young Massachusetts man who died in a car accident. When Quinn returned to work following his operation, he wrote a letter to the donor’s family which reads, in part:
“Please know that each and every day of my life your loved one is with me… My entire family has all become organ donors because of the impact on us by your generous gift of life… your son, who gave me the gift of life, is my hero… my angel. He sits on my shoulder each and every day. Your son, in life and in spirit, is a miracle.”
As one of six children who grew up in a close-knit Irish family in south Providence, Quinn has benefited from a strong support system of family members, which includes his wife, Donna, and daughters Jennifer and Stefanie.
Today, Quinn is an ardent champion of organ donation, and a living testament to the difference one young man made in his own life. “I’ve had three years added to my life, and I’m still counting,” he says. When he’s not working at Rhode Island Hospital, Quinn enjoys golfing and adds that these days, his quality of life is outstanding. In 2012—a single year— more than 640 lives were saved in New England because of organ donors. At Rhode Island Hospital, 21 people donated organs that year, and helped save the lives of 60 others.
You can make a difference by signing up to become an organ donor. Visit the New England Organ Bank’s website or contact Rhode Island Hospital’s kidney transplant program at 401-444-3285.