A long time organ donor advocate, Vikki Tulcus, passed away in January while waiting for her own kidney transplant. She is remembered with a service at the Rockford Ethnic Heritage Museum.
"While she was sick, was still trying to help people find donors and I think that the loss of her speaks to the fact that we have the medical treatment available for patients, but oftentimes what is lacking is a suitable donor," says Margaret Shannon, who worked with Vikki at the Illinois Secretary of State Organ and Tissue Donor Program.
Secretary of State Jesse White helped dedicate Vikki's her new memorial tree this afternoon. "Vikki happens to be one of my heroes, where she gave two individuals the ability to see," says White. B donating her corneas, Vikki keeps spreading the organ donor message, even though she's gone.
She may have run out of time as she waited for her match, but a Rockford man knows the system works. Brian Troy is alive because of efforts of people like Vikki.
"Yesterday on April 24th, 2006 is when my heart donor was shot and killed on his way home from a cubs game. The call came in early on a Sunday morning and next thing you know we're rushing to get everything together," Brian says. "I celebrate the seventh year of my heart transplant on April 30th."
Brian volunteers in Vikki's honor, as a living example that life goes on.
Secretary white says there are more than 5 million registered organ donors in Illinois, ranking the state number two in the country.
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