Cristal Davey of Colonia is just one of the many New Jerseyans that are sharing their personal connection to organ and tissue donation and transplantation to inspire others to register as donors.
Cristal Davey is a registered nurse at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center. She proudly advocates for organ and tissue donation by volunteering her time during the hospital’s community outreach efforts.
“I want to help people understand how they can give the gift of life to others and dispel any myths and misconceptions that they may have about organ and tissue donation,” said Cristal.
Cristal learned about donation when her brother, Jason Manning, tragically passed away in January 2020.
Jason was a registered donor and was able to give the gift of life to others. Jason’s left kidney and liver saved the life of a 55-year-old man and his right kidney saved a 62-year-old woman.
“My brother and I were extremely close, and I was completely broken during his final days in the hospital,” said Cristal.
“During that time, I never thought about organ donation. When the nurse informed us that Jason was a registered donor, it made so much sense to me. Everyone knew that he would do anything to help others, and it was fitting that this was his final decision to help save lives.”
Cristal is also forever grateful for the caring support of the teams at NJ Sharing Network and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway.
“They were there to help support our entire family,” said Cristal. “Some of the extreme hurt I was feeling was lifted knowing my brother could help someone else live. I describe it as the ‘silver lining’ in this absolutely horrific situation. It felt like a huge weight was lifted off of me when I began to understand that Jason would soon be a hero for other families.”
At the time of Jason’s death, Cristal was about to begin her final semester at nursing school while working and raising her four children.
She believes that Jason’s selfless decision to donate life to others helped inspire her to overcome her challenges and complete her schooling.
“The time I spent at Jason’s bedside helped me experience the amazing work of the hospital staff and NJ Sharing Network team,” said Cristal. “These powerful moments motivated me to finish school and make a true difference in supporting patients and their families.”
In New Jersey, there are nearly 4,000 residents currently waiting for a life-saving transplant, and one person in New Jersey dies every three days waiting for a transplant. Just one organ and tissue donor can save 8 lives and enhance the lives of over 75 people.
Transplantable organs include the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and intestine. Transplantable tissue includes corneas, heart valves, skin grafts, and bone grafts, ligaments and tendons.
To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit NJSharingNetwork.org.
PHOTO Courtesy of NJ Sharing Network