A man’s decision to give life through organ donation, plus philanthropic support to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Comprehensive Transplant Center, allowed Margo Griffith to survive.

Margo and Bill Griffith with their family.Margo (center, wearing scarf) and Bill (far right) Griffith with their family.

Margo spent the last 43 days of 2018 at the hospital. Her liver was failing, and she wouldn’t be able to survive without constant treatment. On the last day of 2018, thanks to generosity of all kinds, she received a liver.

Starting on January 1, 2019, Margo began the next chapter in her life story. She and her husband, Bill, are proudly watching their six grandchildren grow and become young adults. Margo’s grandchildren keep her and Bill busy with honor society inductions, soccer matches, baseball and basketball games, and dramatic productions. Margo and Bill recently celebrated their 50th anniversary and own a small farm in Canal Winchester, Ohio.

“I can’t imagine missing what I’ve seen,” says Margo, who has received followup care from transplant surgeon Dr. Kenneth Washburn, and has ongoing support from transplant hepatologist Dr. Lanla Conteh and coordinator Julie Luebke.

Grateful for the care Margo had received, the Griffiths wanted to meet the family of her liver donor, but also support the transplant program and patients at the Ohio State University Medical hgCenter.

“My donor is a hero in one way, but we feel the doctors and surgeons are the other half of the hero,” said Margo.

The Griffiths learned about the Collaboration for Organ Perfusion, Protection, Engineering & Regeneration (COPPER) Laboratory, co-directed by Sylvester Black, MD, PhD, and Bryan Whitson, MD, PhD.

The COPPER Lab’s goal is to develop ways to sustain donated organs to allow more time for assessment, repair, and modification of the tissues. In other words, more organs that become available could be made suitable for transplantation.

Presently, transplant patients endure long waits for organs of appropriate quality and size; unlike Margo hGriffith, not everyone makes it. Right now, organs must be procured, assessed and transported quickly; livers can be sustained for a maximum of 12 hours during this process, hearts and lungs only 6 hours.

What if more of the organs that become available could be used? It might be possible to create a reserve of some organs, making it possible for patients with an urgent need to receive a donation quickly.

“We wanted to help, so somebody doesn’t have to die so someone can live,” says Margo. She and Bill support the research at the COPPER Lab so people’s stories don’t have to end, so they can go on to add more chapters, just as Margo did.

More than 100,000 people in the United States are waiting for an organ donation. Every 10 minutes, another person joins the line, and every day 17 people die waiting.

The Ohio State Comprehensive Transplant Center is working to change these statistics through revolutionary research and world-class patient care. Give the gift of the next chapter - more graduations, birthdays, and anniversaries - by donating today.

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How you can Help

Donate by Mail

The James/Wexner Medical Center Development Office
c/o The OSU Foundation 
PO Box 710811
Columbus, OH 43271-0811