Gift of Life: Retired teacher back to cooking meals for others after liver-kidney transplant

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- 6abc and the Gift of Life Donor program have teamed up for a Registration-thon to sign up as many organ and tissue donors as we can.

Transplants have helped so many in our area live full lives again, including a retired elementary school teacher.

Louise Sample's home in Logan is always filled with the aroma of home cooking.

Louise, assisted by her husband Dave, were cooking up spaghetti and meatballs.

"Food has a way of lifting people up and making people smile," Louise says happily.

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Louise and Dave certainly generate the smiles with their culinary creations. They make meals for half a dozen older residents on their block.

"We also prepare meals for our staff at church, and that's maybe 20. and we do that maybe twice a month," she said.

There's also food for her care team at Einstein Medical Center.

It was all in jeopardy a year and a half ago, when Louise suddenly went into liver failure.

"I had no symptoms, none," she said.

She'd beat cancer five years earlier. Sometimes, chemotherapy can affect the liver.

A bout with blood clots in her legs delayed her listing for a transplant. By the time she'd conquered that, kidney problems set in.

"They said I needed a kidney and a liver at that point," she said.

After several false alarms, Louise got the call from Einstein for the transplant.

"I understand that my donor was 20 years old. So I indeed pray for that family," she said.

Barely a month later, Louise was back in kitchen, cooking for others.

"It's just our way of giving back,"she said.

She urges others to give, too, by becoming living donors for the hundreds needing kidneys.

"You have 2 kidneys, and you can live with one," she said.

While 95% of people support organ donation, only about half are registered donors.

"By putting it on your driver's license, you've made the decision to be a donor. And that is a legal document," said Howard Nathan, CEO of the Gift of Life Donor program.

Louise and her husband Dave will celebrate their 42nd anniversary this coming Valentine's Day, thankful another family was able to think of others amidst their own tragedy.

It's very easy to register as an organ donor. Just CLICK HERE.
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