Stories of Hope

Anya, deceased donor, and Kaija, donor mom

Anya’s eye and tissue donation journey

Anya was outgoing and considered everyone she met to be a friend. A natural athlete, she excelled at any sport that she tried, especially snowboarding. The middle child of three sisters, sociable Anya was usually the center of attention among her family and friends. As a high school senior with a great sense of style, she had big plans to move to New York City and study fashion after graduation. Sadly, just after her 18th birthday, Anya died by suicide, leaving her family heartbroken and grieving.

Anya’s mom, Kaija, was devastated and trying to grasp that the bright future she had once envisioned for Anya would not come to be. Then, she received news that brought a small ray of hope in the midst of a very dark time: Anya had registered to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. In the midst of unbearable pain, Kaija and her family found a sense of peace knowing that although Anya was gone, she would help many others in need.

Life after donation

Through cornea donation, Anya was able to give sight to two people, and her donated tissue healed two young burn victims through skin grafts. An additional 83 others were helped by Anya’s bone and tissue donation. For Kaija, it took her daughter becoming a donor to fully grasp what a blessing cornea and tissue donation truly is. Ultimately, Anya’s final gifts did more than heal the lives of her recipients, they helped her family cope with their grief and begin their own healing.

“Please register as a donor,” Kaija said. “You are giving such an amazing gift with the potential to benefit so many. My beautiful girl helped 87 people to live better lives with her donation.”