TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Not many things are more stressful than needing and getting an organ transplant.
A Tampa couple is helping ease that anxiety.
Linda Donalson and her husband Thomas Thrasher started a support group more than 15 years ago called NOTE, the National Organization For Transplant Enlightenment. It's for people who have had, or know someone who has had, an organ transplant.
"We assist all different transplants," said Linda. "We don't care if they are kidneys, lungs, liver or hearts."
Thrasher was Florida's first successful heart transplant in 1985. He lived for eleven years until his death in 1996. He saw the need for transplant survivors to have financial and emotional support.
"Immediately he was helping transplant patients that were having trouble getting their insurance companies to agree to pay for the procedure because at that point it was experimental. He wanted it to change," Linda said.
NOTE has helped more than 20,000 transplant recipients navigate to a new normal life with a donor organ.
"After they have had their transplant they have a lot of questions and we're there to help them with resources, questions that they have regarding how they fell afterward and especially with their pharmaceuticals," Linda said.
The outreach is full of courageous people finding comfort with the help of others.
"Almost everyone is a miracle and has a story to share and we enjoy that so much being able to help them in their journey."
NOTE also raises Organ Donation awareness at health fairs and expos. They also have a meeting every Tuesday. If you would like more information visit www.noteus.org.