On the day he passed his road test, Robert Washington, Jr. put an orange sticker on his driver’s license and registered as an organ and tissue donor. Just four years later, at age 20, Robert’s life was tragically cut short when he was shot by his father. His mother, Annette, honored his wishes and donated his bone, skin, tendons, ligaments and veins so that he could improve the lives of others.
“Every day is a challenge for me, knowing that Robert’s earthly being is not with me. Then, I stop and think that he is, because he has helped so many people with his gift,” she says. “It made me so proud to be his mom and that at 16 he had made this decision on his own.”
Now, Annette encourages people—especially those in the African American community—to ignore the rumors and educate themselves on the facts surrounding organ and tissue donation. “Stop with all the myths about becoming a donor,” she says. “Start thinking about how you can change someone’s life.”
She also hopes that her story will inspire others to register as organ and tissue donors. “It’s the most selfless act a person can do,” she says. “You have the ability to enhance a person’s life, give a child the chance to grow up with their mom or dad, allow a husband or wife to continue to grow old together. You have the ability to give a person a better quality of life. Why wouldn’t you want to do that?”
Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the organ transplant waiting list.
Approximately 113,000 men, women, and children are waiting for life-saving organ transplants. One organ donor has the power to save up to eight lives and change the outcomes of someone’s world forever by giving them a second chance. Additionally, tissue donation can save and improve the lives of up to 75 people with their gifts. You can make a huge impact by registering as an organ and tissue donor.