A Life Everlasting: The Extraordinary Story of One Boy's Gift to Medical Science

A Life Everlasting: The Extraordinary Story of One Boy's Gift to Medical Science

by Sarah Gray


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A Life Everlasting: The Extraordinary Story of One Boy's Gift to Medical Science by Sarah Gray

A donor mother’s powerful memoir of grief and rebirth that is also a fascinating medical science whodunit, taking us inside the world of organ, eye, tissue, and blood donation and cutting-edge scientific research.

When Sarah Gray received the devastating news that her unborn son Thomas was diagnosed with anencephaly, a terminal condition, she decided she wanted his death—and life—to have meaning. In the weeks before she gave birth to her twin sons in 2010, she arranged to donate Thomas’s organs. Due to his low birth weight, they would go to research rather than transplant. As transplant donors have the opportunity to meet recipients, Sarah wanted to know how Thomas's donation would be used.

That curiosity fueled a scientific odyssey that leads Sarah to some of the most prestigious scientific facilities in the country, including Harvard, Duke, and the University of Pennsylvania. Pulling back the curtain of protocol and confidentiality, she introduces the researchers who received Thomas’s donations, held his liver in their hands, studied his cells under the microscope.

Sarah’s journey to find solace and understanding takes her beyond her son’s donations—offering a breathtaking overview of the world of medical research and the valiant scientists on the horizon of discovery. She goes behind the scenes at organ procurement organizations, introducing skilled technicians for whom death means saving lives, empathetic counselors, and the brilliant minds who are finding surprising and inventive ways to treat and cure disease through these donations. She also shares the moving stories of other donor families.

A Life Everlasting is an unforgettable testament to hope, a tribute to life and discovery, and a portrait of unsung heroes pushing the boundaries of medical science for the benefit of all humanity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062438225
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/27/2016
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 348,827
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Sarah Gray is a donor parent; an organ, eye, tissue, and blood donation advocate; and a public speaker. She is the director of communications for the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) in McLean, Virginia, and regularly speaks around the country. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, Ross; their son, Callum; and their daughter, Jocelyn. SarahGray.com

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Chapter 1 It Wasn't Supposed to Happen Like This 3

Chapter 2 Sophie's Choice, Backward at 100 mph 17

Chapter 3 Better Than Nothing 37

Chapter 4 Hello, Good-Bye 51

Chapter 5 Thomas's Ride 73

Eli's Story 85

Chapter 6 Transplant Envy 93

Chapter 7 An Accidental Quest Begins-Schepens Eye Institute 113

Chapter 8 The Quest Continues-Duke 123

Chapter 9 The Quest Continues-Cytonet 131

Chapter 10 Out of My Comfort Zone 143

Antalya's Story: Mortui vivos docent 159

Chapter 11 The Dance 173

Sue's Story 181

Chapter 12 The Quest Isn't Over Yet-The University of Pennsylvania 193

Chapter 13 Who Was Afraid and Why 203

Chapter 14 From Donation to Discovery 211

Mara's Story: A Sword and a Shield 229

Epilogue: Dreamworld 235

Abbreviations and Acronyms 245

Resources 247

Acknowledgments 273

About the Author 277

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