Tara Thorbin, Transplant Recipient

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My donor's gift has given me the ability to do what I love...

I am a tissue recipient, and until I got home the day of my surgery, I didn’t realize the impact selecting donor tissue over an artificial tissue would have on me. When I received my recipient packet, giving some details and a thank you card I could send to my donor’s family, it all became real for me.

I am very active. I have played softball for the last 37 years of my life (minus my downtime through my injury and surgery). I also taught fitness classes for 13 years.

When I injured my knee in 2011, it took six months to find that not only did I tear my ACL, I destroyed it.  When Dr. Brown got in there during my surgery in April (that happens to be National Donate Life Month) 2012, I had no ACL left. The hard part was not being able to play as much ball and the lack of control if I turned my knee the wrong direction, to the point it would knock me to the ground.

After eight months of rehab, I was finally able to return to the fields, although it took me another five months to play at 90 percent of what I was playing before my injury. Since my surgery, I have added obstacle course races to my activity schedule. In February of 2013, I challenged myself by competing in the Spartan Race, which is a five-mile mountainous obstacle course race.

Today, I am able to play a sport I love, help my children with their sports, play with them and add other active things to my life.

Until I attended the Donor Network of Arizona’s Donation Symposium in 2014, I downplayed the donation that was given to me.  It wasn’t an organ, it was only tissue. It didn’t save my life. After taking classes at the symposium, I realized not only did this enhance my life down the road, in the long run it did save my life. My donor’s gift has given me the ability to stay active and healthy doing what I love to do.  I could have very easily gone down another road, had I not been able to keep being active.

Attending the symposium, gave me renewed since of wanting to be more involved with our Donate Life Committee here at Banner Del Webb Medical Center and at Donor Network of Arizona.

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  1. September 26th, 2015 | Anonymous |

    Your story is very encouraging I am an organ donor hopefully there will be some part of me able to be used with our genes who knows lol I am proud of you cousin
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    • April 27th, 2016 | Anonymous |

      I am not sure which cousin this is, I hope hope our genes wont prevent us from helping others when we are done here. Thank you. :)
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  2. September 26th, 2015 | Aura |

    Tara, You are an amazing individual. I not only miss competing against you in softball because you are a phenomenal player but I miss your classes too. Thank you for helping me become a better athlete. You gave me the confidence to run and helped me gain the knowledge to keep myself healthy. I enjoyed this artice and thank you for enlightening myself as well as the public. Thanks again, Aura P.S. I miss your classes like crazy! You're a wonderful instructor.
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    • April 27th, 2016 | Anonymous |

      Thank You Aura. I miss you too and teaching my classes. I am humbled to know that I made such an impact and was able to help you on part of your journey. :)
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