- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (AP) - A Norton Shores woman who died in September became the first hand transplant donor for Michigan’s federally designated organ and tissue donation program.

Shayna Sturtevant, 21, died after developing a brain abscess stemming from an ear infection, The Detroit News reported. Sturtevant was a registered eye, organ and tissue donor.

“If she could help somebody, she wanted to do that,” said Debra Wyant, Shayna’s mother.

Sturtevant’s parents granted special permission necessary for the hand transplant to go forward, MLive reported. Sturtevant’s kidneys, lungs, pancreas and liver were also donated for transplants.

“Three families get to have their loved ones because of my baby,” said Wyant.

Officials from Gift of Life said the transplant was successful, but that the organization doesn’t release details about recipients.

“There are lots of things that have to fall in place for this to happen,” said Betsy Miner-Swartz, communications specialist for the agency.

According to United Network for Organ Sharing, 30 people have received hand transplants in the United States since 1999.

“This may not be ‘life-saving’ by definition, but if you can imagine life without your hands it must be incredibly life-altering,” Gift of Life CEO Dorrie Dils said in a statement. “We are extremely grateful that Shayna’s family recognized this truly special gift.”

Dils added that she hopes the 21-year-old’s family finds “comfort knowing she was a hero to others. And we wish for the continued recovery of all of Shayna’s recipients.”


Information from: The Ann Arbor News, https://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor

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