When Julie Filbeck cared for her first donor hero 18 years ago in the ICU, she never imagined that a donor could save her life, too. That all changed when a stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis came into her life in 2018.
“I went through eight rounds of chemotherapy, surgeries, radiation and more surgeries,” she said. “Through every surgery, what helped me heal was tissue from somebody willing to give that ultimate gift.”
The gift of tissue allowed Julie to return to her work as a nurse while caring for her three young children. Her position as a nurse gives her the opportunity to honor her donor by continuing to advocate for donation.
“No matter what type of recipient you are, you can honor your donor by having conversations with family, friends and others so that they understand the importance of being a donor,” she said.
Julie and her husband are passionate not only about the gift of donation but also encouraging donor registration.
“You should make your mind known,” Julie’s husband, Thomas, said. “I wouldn’t want to leave this earth leaving my family conflicted about those decisions. But you have to take that step and mark it down.”