BEST OF 2022- The gift of life

This Best of the LPJ for 2022 story was originally published on January 6, 2022.

By Darmecia Woods Crane

One day a person decided to give me a gift. In a place unknown to me, this person wanted to leave me with something special. Something one of a kind and  unique, just for me.  This person was not a co-worker, who had pulled my name for an annual Secret Santa gift exchange. This person wasn’t a parent of a student I taught.  The person wasn’t a member of my community at all.  The person was a stranger. By deciding one day to become an organ donor, a complete stranger has become a part of my life forever.  

In January 2020, after a 13 year fight with auto-immune hepatitis, I was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, PSC. Its only cure, organ transplantation. Placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing/Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (UNOS/OPTN) liver transplant waiting list, my days were spent unsure of exactly how this would all end. As the days continued, so did the urgency of my health. And then one special day that all changed. 

On May 28, 2020, I received a call to receive a  life-saving organ transplant. There was an organ waiting for me. The following morning I would accept my most special gift. The gift of life.  

There are no words that can ever express the gratitude I feel in my heart for my donor.  A simple decision with a rippling effect. In 2021, the U.S. has performed 40,000 life-saving transplants all starting with one simple decision to become an organ donor. This holiday season consider becoming an organ donor and continue the rippling tides of kindness.  

For more information about organ sharing and transplantation, please visit


Darmecia Woods Crane is a graduate of Grambling State and is pursuing her graduate degree in educational leadership at Louisiana Tech.  She is employed as an elementary teacher in Lincoln Parish. Darmecia has received several awards in education, including Lincoln Parish Elementary Teacher of the Year 2018-2019. She has two children, Kalep, 19, and Kayla, 16. Darmecia is an UNOS ambassador and continues to share  her story and advocate for policies in organ sharing and transplantation. If you have any questions regarding her experience of being an organ recipient please contact her at