Stories of organ donation are emotional, no matter what the conclusion.

Every day, time runs out for 18 to 20 people who are waiting for a precious gift of life.

For Jim and Bea Ann Duckworth, every day brought new possibilities and new hope. Every day could be the day their daughter Rhonda might get new lungs.

They waited a year-and-a-half. Rhonda was next in line for that second chance at life, but it came too late.

I just tell her I miss her; I wish you were still here, Jim Duckworth said. I talk to her about her daughter and granddaughter and give her updates on them.

Rhonda, a non-smoker, died at age 37 while waiting for new lungs.

They said, 'We're just going to have to take her off the list, there is no hope,' Bea Ann Duckworth recalled. They were telling me, 'Lungs are too hard to come by, and we don't want to waste them.' You hear someone say something like that about your child? To me it wasn't a waste; if there was a chance for life for her, it wouldn't be a waste.

I guess people expect their children to bury them; you don't expect to bury your child, so its pretty tough to do that, Jim Duckworth added.

But the Duckworths have a new-found peace. Rhonda donated her corneas, giving someone else the gift of sight. The recipient wrote about what it means:

This has been an awesome gift ... It's hard to imagine living without the gift of sight. Watching my sons and daughter grow up is one of life's greatest pleasures.

It made my day when I got home, said Bea Ann Duckworth. It helped so much in the grief process.

I'm not to the point of questioning God right now, Rhonda's dad said. I think I know now He had a purpose.

The Duckworths have now adopted twins. They are nine years old, so they are busy with their new life.


Read or Share this story: