Lalie Gomez: Organ and Tissue Donation

During the 2015 Association of Death Education and Counseling conference, Open to Hope’s Dr. Gloria Horsley interviewed Lalie Gomez—a woman with extensive experience in organ and tissue donation. Both Gomez’s mother and daughter were donors. “In 2003, my daughter passed away in a motorcycle accident and at the time we had never discussed organ donation.” However, when she was approached by hospital staff after her daughter was declared dead and asked about organ donation, “My immediate response was yes,” she recalls. Gomez’s daughter saved five lives.

“My mom passed away in 2008,” she shares. “She was also killed in an automobile accident. Since Mom’s accident occurred instantly, my dad could only consent to her being a cornea and tissue donor.” Today, Gomez is very active in educating others about organ donations, particularly in the month of April (when the conference was held). April is national Organ Donation month and prime time to share stories, dispel myths, and share knowledge about the realities and many benefits of being a donor.

A True Legacy

Gomez encourages everyone to speak to their family members about organ donation preferences. There are various organizations that can help people declare their wishes, but ultimately it’s up to the family. Having open, honest and transparent conversations is critical. Putting your wishes in writing and ensuring family members have copies of your preferences is paramount, especially since it can be tough to recall details soon after a person dies.

“Allowing my daughter’s and my mother’s legacy to live on” has been incredibly consoling to Gomez, and she hopes that others can see the same benefits if and when they are put into the position of choosing organ donation for a loved one. “There are a lot of myths” about organ donation, particularly in the Latino world, says Gomez. Education is key, and every person can help.

Gloria Horsley

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Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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