Tifton family gets the opportunity to meet their late son’s organ recipient

The organ recipient received a kidney.
Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 7:20 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Four years, after the death of their son, Tifton parents are meeting the woman who life he saved, after death.

“It’s hard to explain when you meet somebody like this to know that your son is actually living still inside of this person,” Don Wilkerson, said. “And this person get to live a hopefully long and healthy life as a result of a precious gift that he gave.”

Bernice and Don Wilkerson lost their son, 39-years-old Donald Garren Wilkerson in 2019 as a result of complications stemming from an asthma attack. The Wilkersons have tried to track Garren’s organ recipients.

“As far as we know, right now, there was another female from St. Petersburg Florida that got one kidney,” Bernice Wilkerson said. “And then there was another person that for a kidney and the pancreas. That person did not survive. We don’t know the exact reason why.”

After keeping up with one recipient in particular through texts, calls and FaceTimes, they were finally able to meet her on Wednesday.

Florida resident Cindy Trotter is also a breast cancer survivor.

“I had a bilateral mastectomy and I had several surgeries involving that, with the breast cancer,” Trotter said. “And that was in 2014. And it was a lot to go through. And I thought ‘It’s over. I’m done with surgery. I’m great.’ And then I had this massive problem. And it was like well, here we go again and you just have to stay positive.”

Representatives with LifeLink organ donations are confidential unless both parties don’t want it to be.

“Right now in the United States, we have over a hundred thousand people waiting for an organ transplant,” Public Affairs Manager for the LifeLink Foundation, Tracy Ide, said. “And in Georgia, that number’s over 3,100. One organ donor has the potential to help up to seventy five people. That’s a huge legacy to help people as you’re gone.”

Visit lifelinkfoundation.org to see how you can educate yourself on the topic and decide whether or not organ donation is for you.