PLAINWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — A Michigan man says he’s alive thanks to the five organs he received from a single donor through a rare transplant procedure.
Dominick Anastasia, a 40-year-old from Plainwell, had a multi-visceral transplant in August 2020, and he says he’s grateful for his donor every day.
“Her name was Lindsey and she was 29,” he said.
Anastasia was diagnosed with Pancreatitis in 2016 after having complications during a procedure on his intestines.
“I woke up in just the worst pain I had ever felt in my lifetime, and I knew instantly something wasn’t right,” Anastasia said.
He saw a series of doctors at multiple hospitals before being sent to Indiana University in Indianapolis, the closest hospital that could perform the procedure to replace five of his organs. He was put on the organ waiting list in July 2020 and received the organ donations a month later.
“It’s a simultaneous transplant where they do your liver, your pancreas, the stomach, and then the small and large intestines,” Anastasia said.
He has been in touch with his donor’s mother, who said Lindsey saved five lives.
“When I did communicate with her family. I had expressed to them how thankful and how grateful I am for their daughter’s gift,” Anastasia said. “I wouldn’t be here without her.”
Anastasia said while he has had complications to overcome, the transplant has given him a new life.
“I got my health back. I’ve been able to do the things that I couldn’t do with my children prior to surgery. My sons like to go out and throw the ball around. They like to play basketball, and I just didn’t have the strength to do these things,” Anastasia said.
April is National Donate Life Month, and Anastasia wants others to consider giving the gift of life. He hopes others decide to become organ donors knowing the impact the decision can have.
“There’s so many people that die every day waiting for an organ transplant. I would recommend to anybody: Sign up please, become an organ donor because it makes a difference,” Anastasia said.
Only about 200 multi-visceral transplants are performed globally each year.
To learn how to donate, visit the Gift of Life Michigan website.