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Ryan Stoway

Parents Alexis and Chris Stoway are longtime experts on organ donation and transplantation. They knew as soon as their second child, Natalie, was born that she would need a kidney transplant. She received her first donated kidney when she was 3 years old and her older brother, Ryan, was 5 years old. From then on, Ryan became Natalie’s protector: He knew what she could and could not do following her transplant.

Knowing how deeply his family had benefitted from organ, eye and tissue donation, Ryan felt strongly about joining the donor intent registry when he received his learner’s permit — so much so that he had the DMV redo his permit to include the heart marker so everyone would know he was a registered donor.

When Ryan was 14, he died in a tragic vehicle accident. Despite the extreme shock and grief Chris and Alexis faced, Alexis asked Ryan’s care team about his ability to donate, knowing he would want to help others. The care team was able to assist MTN in fulfilling Ryan’s wishes.

Incredibly, one of Ryan’s final gifts went to Natalie, who had a birth defect in her leg and needed donor tendon.

“Because we direct-donated Ryan’s tendon to her, now every step for the rest of her life is with her brother,” Alexis said.

Ryan Stoway’s Family

Pictured — left to right: Chris Stoway, Ryan’s father; Natalie Stoway, recipient and Ryan’s sister; Alexis Stoway, Ryan’s mother