National Initiatives

Here are the stories behind the faces of our #DonationNeedsDiversity initiative. Do you have a donation story you'd like to share?  Please email us at socialmedia@njsharingnetwork.org

 

Darryl Price of Denville had barely been sick a day in his life when he was told he would need a double-lung transplant to survive a life-threatening lung disease. His transplant surgery in 2016 gave him a second chance at life and he immediately began living life to its fullest. “Honoring the gift also means being the best version of yourself that you can be to inspire and encourage those who sorely need inspiration and encouragement,” said Darryl..

 

Maha Alzayer of Lyndhurst is a long-time volunteer for our 5K Celebration of Life events. As a PhD student studying Biomedical Informatics at Rutgers University, Maha actively supports our life-saving mission and her positive energy always inspires those around her.

 

 

E. Denise Peoples of Newark was diagnosed with a debilitating lung disease despite the fact that she never smoked and had no family history of the condition. A successful double-lung transplant inspired her to educate others about the miracle of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Today, Denise is a Hospital and Community Services Coordinator at NJ Sharing Network, and she works throughout the year to promote our life-saving mission in local schools, faith-based organizations and community associations.

 

 

Greta Clausen of Short Hills was only eight months old when she had a heart transplant that saved her life. Now more than a decade later, the energetic 13-year-old proudly shares her experience as a heart transplant recipient via Instagram posts and is looking forward to participating in the Transplant Games of America when they come to NJ next summer.
Emma Navarro of Lake Hiawatha was born with a congenital heart defect and a life-saving transplant was desperately needed when her heart would no longer function properly. Through the miracle of donation and transplantation, the 18-year-old is thriving today as a healthy and happy teenager. She now enjoys swimming, playing volleyball, and spending time with her family and friends.

Rabbi Ephraim Simon of Chabad of Bergen County in Teaneck is one of only a handful of living donors to have ever donated both a kidney and a liver to save the lives of two others. “As a rabbi, I do a lot of talking about love, doing things for others and altruism,” said Rabbi Simon. “It’s something we all speak about, but how often do we have the opportunity to really set ourselves aside for another? This was my opportunity to do that, and I didn’t want to let it go.” Rabbi Ephraim also participates in community programs to educate on organ and tissue donation.

 

Lakisha Bray of Plainfield is an incredibly strong and resilient woman who is spreading the importance of organ donation through her story of losing her daughter and sister. Lakisha’s daughter, Talea, was born with cerebral palsy and passed away just before her 21st birthday, but she was able to save three lives with her donations. Just six months later, Lakisha’s sister Tabitha died while waiting for an intestinal transplant. “I became an advocate for organ donation to honor both of their memories,” said Lakisha.

 

 

Jayla Sorenson of Toms River has a kidney disease that limits her ability to filter and clean her blood. The vivacious 8-year-old loves to dance, play outside, hug and kiss her family members. But the clock is ticking towards a more critical stage in Jayla’s condition that will eventually involve a pediatric kidney transplant. Jayla and her family actively participate in events and programs to promote organ and tissue donation like the 5K Celebration of Life on Team Jayla’s Journey and encourage others to give the gift of life.

 

Sarah Steinhauser of Montville was born with a bronchi condition that made it difficult to catch her breath and, ultimately, compromised her immune system. Her life-saving double-lung transplant in 2018 has Sarah feeling like she is “living a dream.” She takes great pride in never missing a day of college and she is a certified volunteer for NJ Sharing Network.

 

Ezequiel Garcia of Newark has played a vital role in advancing our life-saving mission since his son Reinaldo passed away in 2011 and became an organ and tissue donor. Today, Ezequiel helps guide our strategic efforts as a member of our Foundation’s Board of Trustees. His 26 years of experience working in the Newark Public School System and as an adjunct professor and supervisor at Kean University help power our community outreach efforts.

 

 

Roberto Perez
Roberto De Jesus Perez of North Bergen tragically passed away at the age of 18 as a result of a brain aneurysm, but the impact that he made on people who knew him and the five lives he saved through organ donation will be honored forever. Roberto’s loving family continues to actively promote donation in our local Latino communities through fundraising events and health fairs. Roberto’s parents, Maria and Carlos, also had an unforgettable moment at our 5K Celebration of Life when they listened to Roberto’s heartbeat inside of one of his donor recipients.
Nikhil Badlani was an 11-year-old exemplary student and aspiring musician from West Orange who was killed in a 2011 motor vehicle accident involving a driver who ran a stop sign. Following Nikhil’s tragic death, his family donated his corneas and heart valves, providing both the gift of sight and the gift of life to others.