Kristina Zornes

Story told by her Aunt Diane

Just before her third birthday, my niece Jessica woke up one morning with her little body completely swollen.   After rushing to the hospital and going through many tests, it turned out she had kidney disease.   She waited until she was 8 years old for a donor- a young man who was killed in a motorcycle accident.   In their grief, his family still thought of others and my niece got a chance for a somewhat normal life.  

We wish we could have thanked the family.  

Ten years ago, Jessica's donor kidney failed. She was 21. There was no hesitation.  Jessica's sister, Kristina, stepped up and said she would give Jessica one of hers.   Jessica is now 31yrs old.  Kristina is 32. What better way to show someone how much you love them than by actually giving them a piece of yourself?  An actual piece!  Both girls are fine.  Jessica will always be on medications.   She doesn't mind though, because she is alive! 


Kristina and Jessica


I also have another hero in my family -my dad, Ray Szalach.  We had talked about organ donation ever since Jessica first got sick.  We all agreed when the time came we would all donate whatever we could. My dad passed away Oct. 11, 2007. Because of him, researchers were able to use his tissue and eyes to find new cures and treatments for a number of health issues.

I want people to know how unselfish it is to want to help someone else. Kristina could have just said nothing and Jessica would have had to wait....again.   By my dad donating his eyes for research, someone may be able to see things they never had- like their own families and the wonders on nature.  I miss you Dad.

We honor them by signing up to be organ donors and by giving at Unyts Blood Drives.  


Jessica's License Plate


Without organ donors, my niece, Jessica, my not be alive today. How can you not be affected by something like that?

Do you know someone who has been touched by organ, eye or tissue donation?

We want to honor them. If you would like to nominate a loved one who gave the gift of life, please click the button below. ConnectLife will contact you when your loved one is chosen for the Hero of the Month.