Rotarians Learn About Organ, Tissue Donations From One of Their Own


Published on February 20 2013 2:33 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham Noon Rotary Club members heard from one of their own at their meeting February 20, and he knew whereof he spoke.

The topic was organ and tissue donation, and Rotarian Tod Lancaster has first-hand experience, in that he is the recipient of a life-saving donation of a liver.  Lancaster explained that he first fell ill when he was a junior in college.  He said he was known as "banana man" since he turned yellow due to jaundice.  The illness was due to a deteriorating liver.

Tod said he was fortunate since medication allowed him to live 35 more years of life, gaining a wife and family and starting his own business.  At a certain point, though, Lancaster went on the donor/transplant list and remained there for 18 months.  He thought they had discovered a donor match and went to St. Louis to receive the liver, but learned that the donated liver was not in good enough shape to warrant the transplant.  Shortly after, though, another call came from Wisconsin where a possible donor turned out to be a match and the transplant took place.

Lancaster said he is celebrating five years with a new liver.

Lancaster's daughter, Lauren Neal, also spoke before Rotary.  She has served as a nurse in organ transplantation and tissue donations and now works behind the scenes making sure that donations go well.

Neal explained that "our primary customer is the donor family" due to all they're going through at the time of a donation.

A highlight of the presentation was when Lancaster held up Neal's young daughter, a granddaughter he says he would likely never have met had it not been for his receiving a liver transplant.

Michael Goldstein served as Rotary weekly student guest.  He's the son of Larry and Susan Goldstein and a senior at St. Anthony High School.