Blog: Organ donor and recipient families meet in Modesto


kate hopkinsI got an email this morning from Memorial Medical Center about a special meeting between two families involved in an organ transplant.

In 2014, Tom Goss received a new heart and kidney from 20-year-old Kate Hopkins after she died from injuries she suffered in an accident at Yosemite. Goss wanted to meet Hopkins’ family, so Memorial arranged it yesterday. In place of Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14 was Kate’s Day at Memorial.

The Goss and Hopkins families met along with members of the teams who were involved in Kate Hopkins’ immediate care — a flight nurse on the medical helicopter, as well as staff in the trauma, emergency department, and ICU. The helicopter pilot who flew Hopkins to Memorial three years ago spoke with Jackie Hopkins, Kate’s mother, via Facetime. She shared memories of Kate’s childhood.

“Valentine’s Day 2017 took on a very special meaning for us at Memorial Medical Center,” Memorial’s CEO Daryn Kumar said in the email. “We spent some time with both families, and heard their emotional stories. We were able to reconnect with Kate’s family and hear about their experiences interacting with our staff. It definitely helps us remember what our purpose is in health care — to be compassionate and caring professionals dedicated to doing whatever we can to help those coming to our medical center.”

A Donate Life flag raising was done in Kate’s honor, and an overhead page was made throughout the hospital to announce the occasion.

Memorial says it’s rare for a heart donor’s family and a transplant patient to meet or even correspond. However, these two families wanted to share their story to say thanks and to get the word out about how organ donations really do save lives.

To learn more about organ donation and to find out how you can be a donor, visit Donate Life.


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