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Mary Jo’s Ride to a New Heart

After 14 years of battling heart disease, Mary Jo was told her only option for survival was to receive a heart transplant.

Current Donation Statistics

  • Every 10 minutes, another person is added to the waiting list
  • 22 people dies each day because the organs they need are not donated in time

The statistics are alarming, aren’t they? Sometimes, waiting lists don’t mean much. Until it becomes your reality.

For Mary Jo, this was her reality. As a teenager, Mary Jo registered herself as a donor on her first driver’s license, and she never imagined she would need a transplant someday.

When she turned 26 years old, she became very ill and was told she would eventually need a heart transplant; by the time she turned 40, her condition grew worse and she was placed on the heart transplant waiting list.

After waiting more than a year – 375 days to be exact – Mary Jo received the life-changing call that a heart was available. Today, sixteen “gifted” years later, LifeSource Ambassadors Mary Jo and her husband, Roger, share her story of hope and healing in their community. They acknowledge the anxiety and fear they experienced while waiting for this precious gift of life and celebrate the joy they received because someone said “yes” to donation.

“Our whole family has been abundantly blessed through the gift of organ donation. The more we can give (both financially and as LifeSource Ambassadors) the more people can live.”

— Roger and Mary Jo Renner

Four years after her transplant, Mary Jo connected with her donor’s family. This connection further inspired her speaking engagements. It wasn’t just her story anymore – it was their story, together. Through the years, these two families have grown close and continue to celebrate life’s milestones. Their shared journey inspires hope every day with their loved ones, friend and local communities.

For 30 years, LifeSource has been there, to honor the donation decision of thousands of people, to bring hope and support to their grieving families, and healing to transplant recipients through the gift of life. As we look ahead to the next 30 years, imagine a world where everyone receives the life-changing transplant that they will need.

Life is a beautiful ride.