Family Donates Woman's Organs, Six People Saved

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

As friends and family lined up Wednesday to pay their respects to Deborah Fay McArthur, her husband fondly remembered the love of his life.

"She could just give me a look and it would fill me up," Michael McArthur said. "She was so giving and caring. She would walk through Meijer smiling, just to see how many people would smile back at her."

Last week 'Debbie' suffered a brain aneurysm at Allegiance Hospital when Mike was there as a patient. He was in for severe burns after a home fireplace installation went terribly wrong.

Both were airlifted to U of M hospital at the same time.

"When I came to, they told me how critical my wife was," Mike McArthur said. "They pronounced her dead two days later."

Then came a time to make a choice on whether or not to donate her organs. Debbie had not specified on her driver's license, and her husband of 11 years felt torn.

"In my selfishness, I wasn't willing to give anything up," he said.

Lisa Harris, a Sparrow Hospital liaison with Gift of Life Michigan, knows what families go through during these tough times.

"It becomes hard with family when you don't have that conversation when you're well," she said.

In Michigan 3,000 people are waiting for organs, a number that continues to increase, even though the number on the donor list does not.

For Mike and his family, they knew it would be what Debbie wanted. So they donated her internal organs and on Christmas day six people received the gift of life.

"On Christmas day, a day she so dearly loved..." McArthur said.

It's a comfort to the family, Mike said, to know a part of this beautiful person lives on.

One of the six to receive an organ -- a family friend received a kidney -- and has already called the family to say how grateful he is.

** For more information on donating, go to the Gift of Life Web site:

** To become a donor:

**You DO NOT have to wait until you renew your license, you can become a donor at any time for no cost. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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