May 30, 2023

Let’s Celebrate the Diversity of Nevadans

Written by: Adriana Connelly

May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. Did you know? More than 9,000 Americans waiting for their second chance through organ donation are from the AANHPI community.  

Although organs are not matched by race and ethnicity, people of similar ethnicities and races frequently match one another. All individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving a transplant if there are large numbers of registered donors from their racial or ethnic background. Currently, over 60% of the national waiting list is from a multicultural background. 

We would like to share stories from several Nevadans from the AANHPI community who have been impacted by organ, eye and tissue donation. Starting with a heroic donor… Meet Ronald (Ron). His wife Robyn shared, “People sometimes ask the question, if you had the chance to do it all over again, knowing what the ending would be, would you? For me, that answer will always be yes, without a second thought. The ending is one of grief and unbearable pain and sadness, but the story leading up to that is eleven years of love, laughter (lots of laughter), and memories that will forever be engraved in the hearts of myself and my three children. Ron Reynon was not a perfect man, as nobody is, but he was perfect for us. A hard worker, a great leader, and he could make anyone laugh even on the worst day. There was nothing on Earth more important than his family- specifically, me and our three children. He would do anything to protect us, and his presence alone had that way of making us feel safe and secure, like there was no one else in the world. That is, until his heart stopped beating. Without warning, we went from being the only people in the world, to having a living room full of commotion and paramedics, finally ending the night in an empty house that screamed with deafening silence. A home that would never feel like our home again. It’s been a rough two-and-a-half years as we learn to navigate this world without Ron. But he left with us his strength, and his love for family, and we carry him with us everywhere we go, in our own ways. Our favorite days of the week are those where we turn on the grill and play some J Boog, and bring the family together with a big, barbecued meal. It is then when we feel closest to him, and to each other. Ron’s heart was so full of love, maybe it was just too much love for one heart to take. He may have left us far too soon, but he also gave the gift of life to others by being willing and able to donate multiple organs and tissues, allowing others to have that time with their families. It’s just like Ron, to continue giving even after his time on Earth is over. We love you so much Ron and have faith we will see you again one day when our time has come.” It’s individuals like Ron and their courageous families who make the ultimate gift possible.

Ronald 1
Without heroic donors, journeys of transplant survival wouldn’t be possible. Meet Sai, who would also like to share the impact donation has on Nevadans who have received the gift of life. Tissue transplants can save the lives of those who suffer from certain heart conditions. Since birth, Sai has fought to survive. From endless doctor visits, hospital stays and surgeries, his family is infinitely grateful for the gift he received (a heart valve). His Mother shared, “We try to honor Sai's donor every year and wish so bad we could meet his family. We always thought that because it was a tissue transplant and not a complete heart transplant that it's not considered a donation like people usually think of. This opportunity helped us realize that every gift a heroic donor gives counts. Most importantly, Nevada Donor Network has allowed us a way to feel more connected and has given us an outlet to raise awareness. This gives our family another way to express our gratitude not just to Sai's hero, but all heroic donors and their courageous families.” 
Photo Feb 05 2023, 2 57 15 PM
Are you inspired by these ‘real life’ stories? Register to be a hero here!