‘There’s sorrow, but yet there’s joy’: Family celebrates mother’s sacrifice while bringing attention to organ donation
‘There’s some sort of purpose being created out of this loss’
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A family is bringing attention to organ donation and showing how impactful it can be after their loved one gave her organs for others in need.
The family of late Stacy Westfall honored her sacrifice after the 63-year-old died after a stroke and donated her organs earlier this week.
People who attended a ceremony on Friday night outside of Alaska Regional Hospital heard words from Chief Chaplain Diane Peterson. Chaplains from the police and fire departments joined in singing, sang “Amazing Grace” and rose a flag paying tribute to Westfall’s selflessness. Stacy’s daughter Kimberly Westfall fought back tears during the ceremony.
“Through this terrible loss, we’re really trying to celebrate hope, and love, and really an awareness for the importance of being a donor,” Westfall said.
Kimberly said when her mother had a stroke, she couldn’t wrap her mind around the loss she and her loved ones were feeling.
“I was met with a lot of hope and a little bit of purpose in knowing that this amazing gift of, life really, was going to provide an opportunity for someone else to live,” she said.
After the ceremony, Chaplain Peterson explained the impact that a donation makes in other people’s lives can be profound.
“Even in the midst of your tragedy, it can bring an answered prayer of hope to another family that’s been waiting,” Peterson said.
Kimberly spoke about the life her mother lived and what she meant to her.
“I’m not questioning anybody’s gratitude about receiving one of my mom’s organs, but just know that you’re getting a piece of an amazing woman who was especially good at making everything special. And who made friends with people the first time that she met them. And she was just an amazing, lovely woman,” Westfall said.
When asked what she would want to say to people who aren’t sure whether to become an organ donor, Kimberly said everyone involved in the process was gracious and respectful.
“[Those involved] really took my mom’s life and in a really special way shared it with somebody else,” she said. “It’s really been the only comfort that I’ve been able to receive in this huge loss. Everybody’s been so supportive, but really the most meaningful relief that I felt is that there’s some sort of purpose being created out of this loss.”
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