Leaving A Lifelong Legacy

By Stephen A. Kula
Wednesday - April 06, 2011 Share

By Stephen A. Kula, Ph.D., NHA,
Executive Director, Legacy of Life Hawaii

Yolanda Domingo got to see her youngest son graduate from high school, was there for the birth of her grandchildren and is now working toward a degree in medical social work. And all because of a compassionate young man, Steven Ginoza, who left her a “legacy of life” she’ll treasure for the rest of her life - a new heart made possible by Steven’s gift of organ donation following his untimely death in 2000.

Sarah Chee got to walk down the aisle in her beautiful wedding gown last August, barely three months after being told she had less than two weeks to live, thanks to a “legacy of life” from Charlys Tang. When it was clear that Charlys’ life could not be saved, his family, in the midst of their own grief, offered a gift of hope to strangers by donating his organs.

The family of Sheryl Wolfe - an 18-year-old student at Mililani High School - was comforted after her unfortunate death last year by the fact that she had chosen on her learner’s permit application to become an organ donor. Sheryl’s choice saved the lives of three others who were anxiously awaiting organs that, sadly, sometimes never come.

In 2010, 63 life-saving organ transplants like these were performed thanks in part to Legacy of Life Hawaii.

Founded in 1987, Legacy of Life Hawaii recovers organs and tissues for transplant and provides around-the-clock support 365 days a year for anyone whose loved one becomes a donor. Together with hospitals, transplant centers and community partners, we provide an opportunity for individuals like Steven, Charlys and Sheryl to rescue others through organ and tissue donation.

Thanks to an organ donation, Sarah Chee walked down the aisle last August after being given less than two weeks to live. Photo courtesy Legacy of Life Hawaii

The greatest challenge for Legacy of Life Hawaii is not funding. We receive funding through federal aid, Aloha United Way and various grant sources.

The true challenge is the critical shortage of available organs.

Potential donors can sign up at the DMV when applying for a new license, a license renewal or for a state ID. People also can sign up directly online at legacyoflifehawaii.org.


Hawaii charitable organizations may send requests for space in either Proof Positive or the free advertisement below to dchapman@midweek.com.

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