Sarah Sharp

If she ever did before, Sarah Sharp doesn't take for granted her ability to write on a chalkboard, to lift a pile of books, or to put her arms around friends and family anymore. The gift of tissue donation, in combination with skilled surgical, nursing, and rehabilitation care, made those things and so much more possible for her. During her recovery, Sarah had a chance to contemplate the impact of her donor's generosity and kindness, and wrote a letter to her donor's family explaining what it means to be touched by the kindness and generosity of a stranger. Sarah's letter was handled and forwarded by the Pathways Thank You Letter Program.
Sarah Sharp Teaching

A former student of Sarah's commented, I do think it is admirable for Dr. Sharp to try and give back as much as she can to those around the person who made her life much more comfortable. It would be tough for all of us to do that for every person who does such a thing for all of us. I think this is a nice step towards honoring those who make a difference, even though at the time they don't know where their gift will go.

Read Sarah's Letter...


Terri Scharf

Terrie Scharf understands the anguish of losing a loved one and the generosity of giving the gift of organ and tissue donation. Unfortunately, she also knows the disappointment of not knowing how that gift helped someone in need. And so, when Terrie received the gift of tissue donation during surgery in 2005, she knew that she wanted to give to her donor’s family what had not been given to hers.

Terrie tore a ligament in her knee while coaching her daughter’s volleyball team. In order to repair the damage, she needed surgery and donated tissue. Being an active wife and mother of two, Terrie was anxious to return to doing all the things she loved.

Terri Scharf

“Any activity, even simple things like going on family walks, was painful and left me at risk for further damage to my knee, which I ended up doing. It was to the point a few weeks before surgery that I was feeling left out and missing some of the best years in my children’s lives.”

Terrie’s surgery was a success, and it wasn’t long before she found herself on the fast-track to recovery. And while she dreamed of returning to kayaking, biking, and camping with her family again, the needs of her donor’s family were a top priority.

Terrie wrote to her donor’s family through the Pathways Thank You Letter Program, and shared her story of giving and receiving. “I tragically lost a very close brother who was a donor. I am sorry to say that we never received the peace of mind in knowing who benefited from our loss and I wanted to make sure the donor family at least had a glimpse into the life of at least one of the recipients.”

Terrie shared this excerpt from her letter to her donor’s family with us;

“I want to leave you with this thought; there hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I haven’t thought about you and remembered the pain of losing someone you love. I hope very sincerely that in some measure you find comfort in this letter and that you realize what a difference in my life you and your loved one’s generosity has made. I also hope that this helps you find some measure of peace in this decision.”

Terrie’s letter was forwarded to her donor’s family through the organization that worked with them throughout the donation process.