August 12, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • Page 5 Mahwah Mayor lauds tissue donation by former resident by Frank J. McMahon Mahwah Mayor Richard Martel recently voiced his praise and appreciation for the body tissue donation made by Michael Drozd, a former resident, township fire inspector, and volunteer firefighter and ambulance corps driver, who was killed in an automobile accident on Aug. 12, 2008. Recounting the many people who have benefited from the donation made through the New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network, Inc., in Springfield (NJ Sharing Network), Martel said Drozd’s story is heartwarming and sends a message to others about the value of organ and tissue donation. Martel’s comments, made at a public council meeting, were prompted by a letter from Pam Drozd, a records secretary in the police department, who said she was extremely excited and proud to convey her husband’s story because when she lost him, just two years after their marriage, she was asked by the hospital staff if her husband was an organ donor and she answered without hesitation. “I replied yes with full confidence,” Drozd said. “I knew that it was one of Mike’s wishes, and it was up to me to see them fulfilled.” Due to the severity of the injuries Mr. Drozd sustained in the accident, and the timing involved, Mrs. Drozd was told that her husband was not eligible to donate any of his organs. However, the hospital staff told her she would be contacted by the New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network because it would still be possible to make a tissue donation. “In the middle of the night, I received a phone call from the Sharing Network,” she explained. “They asked if I would consent to Mike donating bone, tissue, connective tissue, ligaments, heart valves, and other parts. I knew Mike would want to give whatever he could of himself and the staff at the Sharing Network told me that they hoped to find a recipient for each thing that Mike donated and if no recipient could be found, the items would go to research. “In the days and weeks following the funeral, I silently prayed that the decision I made that night would allow Mike to make a difference in the life of one person,” she continued. This May, she received a phone call from her case worker at the Sharing Network, who told her they were able to harvest 75 items from her husband and that, to date, five people have had successful surgeries using items that he had donated. They also advised that 39 hospitals in 20 states were involved in receiving and hopefully transplanting parts of her husband’s donation. “You can imagine my excitement when I heard the news,” Drozd said. “I never imagined the magnitude of the results. Mike had the potential of helping 75 people. It is bittersweet to know that Mike is living on in the lives of others and that complete strangers are living on because of Mike but this news gave me so much comfort. “I have tried to share it with everyone who knew Mike in the hopes that it would not only bring them comfort but also bring light to such an amazing organization. If you knew Mike, you knew that he loved life and people and he was a generous giver,” Drozd said. “He gave so much of himself to his family, friends and community whether it was his smile and friendly greeting, his beautiful bag pipe music, or his years as a volunteer firefighter. Even in his death he continues to give of himself and teach others about life. If there ever was a story that could turn tragedy into triumph this is it.” According to Mary Ellen McGlynn, a registered nurse Pam and Michael Drozd. who is the manager of the family support program for the Sharing Network, the recipients of Drozd’s donation include a 58-year-old man in New Jersey and a 23-year-old woman in Pennsylvania, both of whom had surgery to repair (continued on page 17) ������������������ ��������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������ ���������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������� G.R. 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