PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — A Bay Area woman who crusaded for more people to become organ donors is being honored, even after her death.
Ana Stenzel and her twin sister were first featured two years ago as KPIX 5 Jefferson Award winners for their work with organ donation.
“My sister and I were dying and were at the end of our lives when families said yes to donation,” her sister Isabel Stenzel Byrnes.
Ana received a double lung transplant in 2000 and a second double lung transplant in 2007. She traveled, hiked, ran marathons and made the most of her second and third chances until she died last year from cancer.
The double donor recipient never forgot what others gave her, so she donated what she could — her eyes.
Thanks to Ana’s donation, two people in Maryland were able to get the gift of sight again.
“She loved to travel and see the world and so I’m really blown away that two other people in the world can now see out of her eyes,” Isabel said.
One of the persons Ana helped is a grandmother who is able to watch movies with her grandson again.
On Monday at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, her family and friends decorated a floral portrait. Ana was chosen along with other donors to be honored at next year’s Rose Parade in Southern California. Her picture will be placed on the Donate Life float.
“I loved Ana very much and to see that she’s honored this way with so many of our friends and her coworkers here is great,” said Trent Wallace, Ana’s husband.
The California Transplant Donor Network says one organ donor can help save up to 60 people. And for Ana’s family, it means she still lives on.
“To be able to recognize what she did at the end of her life makes me feel like there was some meaning in her death,” Isabel said.
Tissue Banks International, the non-profit that focuses on cornea transplants, says through donations, they are able to help 150,000 each year.
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