December 17, 2017
Written by Jim Voutour, Niagara County Sheriff
I still recall my mother, Carol Voutour, returning home from a doctor’s appointment in mid-1995 with a pager on her hip. I asked what it was for and she broke the news that she could not survive with her lungs in their current condition and she needed a lung transplant. She had suffered for a few years and it was apparent her ability to breath was diminishing each day. My fear of losing my mother turned to optimism once she explained that a transplant would mean she would be able to breathe again.
I spent the next few months waiting for the pager to go off. Our luggage was packed and we were prepared for a trip to Pittsburgh once her new lungs were located. As the days went on, her health diminished and the pager remained silent. It was just prior to Christmas in 1995 when mom returned to the doctor for another appointment. This time when she returned home, her pager was gone. She was removed from the transplant list because her health was too poor to undergo surgery. Our hope for a donor had ended. Mom lost her battle a month later on January 26, 1996 at the age of 59.
In February of 2017 my daughter Lydia was set to take the stage in Atlanta for a major, nationwide cheerleading competition. On her final warmup tumble, she tore her ACL. A month later Lydia had surgery to repair her knee and ACL. Her surgery took longer than expected because the doctor was not able to recover enough of her hamstring to repair her ACL. The doctor explained that he had to use a tendon from an organ and tissue donor to repair Lydia’s knee.
It is unusual for the issue of organ and tissue donation to reach someone twice. My family realized two different results for the same program. We are grateful for all those who chose to be a donor. We also encourage those who are not to take a few minutes to sign up. You may be able to have a positive impact on someone’s mom or someone’s daughter.