William Rollings McMahon Organ Donation Educational Foundation 



Will 2 Live: The William Rollings McMahon Story

About William

William “Will” McMahon was an active, healthy, 16-year old honor student who lived in Pensacola, FL.  During the last week of 2004 he suddenly developed flu-like symptoms.  Less than a week later Will was diagnosed with unexplainable liver failure.  He was flown to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL in critical condition, with only 24-hours to live.  Miraculously, he received a donated liver in time to save his life.  Following his transplant on January 2, 2005, Will fought bravely to recover and successfully returned home to resume his schoolwork, along with his passions of surfing and playing the guitar.  Five months later, however, Will developed complications and was placed back on the organ waiting list, in need of a second liver transplant.  Unfortunately, he passed away on May 19, 2005 as he waited.  Following his passing, Will’s mother Kim McMahon founded a non-profit foundation in his memory, with the purpose of educating and supporting the need for more registered organ donors.  She frequently travels to speak to schools, civic groups, and other audiences, encouraging everyone to become an organ, eye, and tissue donor, and to share their wishes with other family members. 
Please understand and discuss organ donation with your family and friends. By doing so you are helping raise awareness of this life saving gift!
 


The purpose of this non profit 501(c)(3) foundation is to promote organ donation education and awareness.
 In addition to the generosity of our donors, our foundation is supported through the sale of t-shirts, backpacks and key rings bearing the message "Don't Break the Circle of Life - Support Organ Donation", for the sole purpose of publicly bringing attention to this important issue. As William's mother, I travel the globe telling his story so that people will understand how quickly and easily organ failure can happen to anyone.  Our videos and public service announcements can be seen on our pages at: www.youtube.com/donate4william and www.myspace.com/donate4william.  They feature some of our many wonderful "Circle Of Life" organ donation awareness supporters throughout the world. All donations to our foundation are used to produce materials that bring attention to the importance of discussing organ donation with your loved ones. You can also help support us at http://causes.com/donate4william.  For more information, feel free to contact me directly at donate4william@yahoo.com.
             
Thank you,
Kim McMahon
William's Mom

 

 

Pensacola News Journal Viewpoint Article
  Published-August 13, 2006          

  Viewpoint: Consider being an organ donor and saving lives Kim McMahon


A little over a year ago my 16-year-old son passed away. Yet there is a possibility he could still be here today. My son William was an active, healthy honor student when, during the last week of 2004, he developed flu-like symptoms. In less than a week he was diagnosed with unexplained liver failure. He was flown from Pensacola to Shands Hospital in Gainesville in critical condition. We were told he would need a liver transplant. What a total shock! I thought liver failure was caused by drugs, alcohol or being born with a defective liver. My son fit these descriptions in no way. There was no history of liver problems in our families, and all drug and alcohol screens came back negative. A miracle occurred when he received a donated liver in time to save his life. After his Jan. 2, 2005, transplant William bravely fought for his life and successfully returned home. There he resumed his passions of surfing and playing the guitar. Almost five months after his transplant, he developed complications and once again needed a liver donation. We were not as fortunate this time; he passed away May 19, 2005.

I am an organ donor. But I realized at this time that I really knew very little about organ donation. During our almost five months of treatment and hospitalization, I realized the importance of organ donation education and awareness. We saw children slowly dying as they waited for organs. Based on OPTN (Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network) data, late last month there were 92,383 people waiting for organs, with 2,176 of them newborn to 17 years of age. From our room in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit we would see many of the teenage accident victims arrive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that car crashes are the leading cause of death for ages 15-20. Of this age group, 7,898 were involved in fatal crashes in 2004 alone. I believe most parents don't discuss organ donation with their children. I had not. Why should we? We never think it will happen to us. We don't ever want to think about the death of our children. But the reality is it does happen every day. And when it does, parents are often asked the question about donating their child's organs and tissue. At this horrific time you are in a state of shock and don't want to start learning about organ donation. Yet your child could unexpectedly be in the next room, waiting for an organ. Because of the size and other issues, most adult organs cannot be used on children. It is a fact that every organ and tissue donor can save and enhance the lives of up to 50 people. While I believe this is a personal decision, it deserves an educated answer. Please understand and discuss organ and tissue donation with your family and friends. By doing so you are helping raise awareness of this life-saving gift -- before it's too late!

Kim McMahon is a lifelong resident of Pensacola. For more information see
www.donate4william.org
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