Leaving a Legacy of Love and Hope: Organ Donors Remembered
Apr 27, 2023
Monique Binkley Smith
Portrait of Edward Miller with Birthday Cake

April is Donate Life Month

Edward Miller was a lifelong Washington Redskins* football fan. As a young man during the Vietnam War, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served his country as a sharpshooter. Miller had an entrepreneurial spirit and at various times operated a dance studio, earned his pilot’s license, sold beauty products, and drove a taxi before opening Miller’s Towing & Dismantling Services and M&M Recycling in Oakland. Miller was married and had two children, four grandchildren and a great grandson. His friends thought of “Eddie” as quite a character. And though Miller’s life ended suddenly when he suffered an aneurysm, he was surrounded at the end by friends and family who loved him dearly.

U.S. Army portrait of Edward Miller

Edward Miller served as a sharpshooter in the U.S. Army

Miller was also an organ donor, one of approximately 14,000 people each year in the U.S. who give life to others by donating their organs and tissues. An additional 6,000 living donors donate a portion of their liver or a kidney each year.

Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, Calif., part of the Sutter Health not-for-profit network of care, honors donors like Miller at its Tree of Life Donor Celebration in collaboration with partner, Donor Network West. The event, which had been on hiatus for several years during the pandemic, allows family members of those who have made organ donations an opportunity to honor their loved ones and celebrate their lives.

“It’s our honor to be able to celebrate these families and their loved ones who gave such an important gift to those truly in need of organ donations,” said Jonathan Judy Del Rosario, Eden Medical Center’s chief nurse administrator.

During the Tree of Life event, family members place a bronze leaf, engraved with the date of their loved one’s donation, on a special wall sculpture of a tree in the Intensive Care Unit waiting room.

Miller’s daughter, Dawn Miller, said, “I’m truly thankful Eden and Donor Network West included our family in this event…to support and honor donors and their families.”

Gifts like Edward Miller’s make a critical difference in the lives of patients waiting for much-needed transplants. And the need is great. According to Donor Network West, which connects organ and tissue donors to people in need throughout Northern California and Northern Nevada, there are more than 100,000 people awaiting organs in the U.S. –more people than can fit in a typical football stadium. Every 10 minutes someone is added to the organ transplant waiting list. And more than 22 people die each day awaiting an organ.

Through one person’s organ donation, an average of eight lives can be saved. And 75 people can be helped by tissue donations through a single donor.

Registering to become a donor is easy.

Each person has the power to save someone’s life, as Edward Miller did, by registering to be an organ donor and leaving a legacy of love and hope.

Edward Miller’s gift of his kidneys has given new life to their recipient who has recovered well and has returned to work. The recipient wrote to Miller’s family expressing his profound gratitude, “I am truly grateful to have received this gift and second chance at life! I feel truly blessed!”

*The team has since been renamed the Washington Commanders.

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