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How Mari Saved Many Through Organ Donation

A family shares the experience of losing a sister, wife, mother and friend; and the pride in knowing her legacy of saving lives.

Mari’s donation story actually began when she got her driver’s license as that is when she registered to become an organ donor, telling her mom “Who knows, I might help someone one day.” No one could ever guess thirty some years later Mari would help not only one but many by making that decision.

On March 28, 2018, Mari suffered a brain aneurysm. During the most difficult time in her family’s life, Mari’s husband Paul, honored her wishes to become an organ donor. Mari’s organs, tissues and cornea’s gave others the gifts of a second chance, days without pain and the ability to see the world again.

“I miss my sister every single day so knowing she saved others is the only thing that brings me happiness.”

– Rae (Mari’s sister)

Mari loved her family, going on walks by Lake Superior to collect rocks and making bonfires with her husband Paul. Mari always honked her horn when driving past her parent’s house, it was her way of saying “hi.” She enjoyed having family over but insisted on everyone leaving the party by 6:00 p.m., a fun fact that still gives her friends and family a laugh. She loved cheering on her son, Kori when he played hockey and enjoyed watching her daughter, Kaylin cheer at hockey games. 

Mari’s family had the rare experience of meeting one of her organ recipients, Ashleigh. Ashleigh received Mari’s lungs when she was just 24 years old, the same age as Mari’s daughter Kaylin. Ashleigh keeps in touch with Mari’s family with letters and updates. She even shares some of her life experiences with them, including sending pictures of her recent marriage.

 “Ashleigh and other recipients bring joy to our lives as we honor and remember Mari.”

Mari once asked our mother, “I wonder what it is like to be a hero?” We find peace and comfort in knowing that Mari’s last act here on earth was just that, a hero to all who received her gifts. 

Mari's story was shared with LifeSource by her loving family: sisters Rae and Dawn and husband Paul. 

Did You Know?

  • An estimated 1 in 50 people in the United States have unruptured brain aneurysms.
  • Women are more likely than men to have a brain aneurysm.
  • Brain aneurysm ruptures are twice as likely to occur in people from African and Hispanic ethnicities.