Photographic image of Megan and Chris Paone

Family Services Manager Shares About Her Donor Hero

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Chris Paone Donor Memorial Card image

Chris’ Donor Memorial Card

Hello! My name is Megan Paone, and I am the Manager, Family Services here at MTN. Chris was my husband of almost 10 years. Chris was medically very sick and was hospitalized in November 2020, the night before Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, he became very unstable on day four of his intensive care unit stay, and it was apparent the amazing medical team had done everything medically that they could do for him.

Once I made the very difficult decision to stop aggressive therapies and keep him comfortable, I was not even thinking about Chris being an organ donor — he was so sick and was not like what I thought of a “typical” patient who would be an eligible organ donor. I have worked at MTN for more than seven years and live donation daily, and it still did not cross my mind in my cloud of grief. The wonderful nurse called in the referral to MTN while I was calling my family to return to the hospital to say their goodbyes.

I then received a call from Family Services Coordinator Gretchen, and she shared that it was believed that Chris could actually be a donor and save the lives of two people through kidney donation. When I heard this news, my intense sadness turned to hope, and I felt a huge wave of peace fall over me. He died peacefully right after 9 p.m. with our family by his side.

He then went to the operating room and was able to save the lives of two people here in the Midwest with his kidneys: a 70-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman. These two people’s lives were saved because of my husband and the forward thinking of our amazing clinical staff at MTN. It gives me a sense of peace every day to know this, and it has really helped me along my grief journey.

Our thanks to Megan Paone, LMSW, for writing this guest blog post.