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:
http://www.giftoflifemichigan.org/

** To become a donor: https://services.sos.state.mi.us/OrganDonor/Registry.aspx

**You DO NOT have to wait until you renew your license, you can become a donor at any time for no cost.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Michael Location: Pleasant Lake on Feb 7, 2011 at 05:15 PM
    My wife will be dearly missed, and Iwill love her till the day I die and see her again. I would like to thank WILX for all they did in honoring her in the way they did. Thank you so very much.
  • by michael Location: jackson on Jan 20, 2011 at 04:49 PM
    This was my wife and my love for her is the only reasonI could do what I did. I wanded all of her and still do. I miss her loving look so much. She was my life.
  • by Sue Location: Jackson on Dec 30, 2010 at 05:14 AM
    What a sad and wonderful story. My sympathies to Mike and his family; but what a wonderful thing to do for the recipients of the Gift of Life; especially on Christmas Day. Thanks for sharing the story with the public.
  • by JODY Location: Lansing on Dec 29, 2010 at 08:27 PM
    This is exactly what the LCC-AMASavesLives Campaign: I Have Heart! is all about. We are partnering with @GiftofLifeMich and @AMASavesLives, working to increase organ donation awareness and registration with the help of @LansingAMA (Twitter) or @LCC American Marketing Association (Facebook). Visit http://www.amasaveslives.com and register under MI and LCC for more information. You can make a difference.
  • by Amanda Location: Eaton Rapids on Dec 29, 2010 at 08:05 PM
    What an awesome gift!
  • by Anonymous on Dec 29, 2010 at 07:57 PM
    Most peple are hard headed and don't care about anything but themselves. They comment on the stories as if their oppion matters but this......this is a story to read for everyone. If everyone could have this big of a heart and care this much we could save millions of people and the ones we loved who past could be proud. I love this story. God bless the family and I pray in sympathy my heart is with them but the deed you did was unforgettable.
  • by slm Location: Jackson on Dec 29, 2010 at 07:04 PM
    Debbie had a beautiful smile and used it often. I know she is smiling knowing others will be blessed this Christmas with the gift of life as she begins her eternal life!
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