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“P.J.”

When P.J. went to have his leg checked out in May of 2012, doctors found something much more serious than a bone bruise, a muscle tear, or any other common injury brought about by football. P.J.’s injury was anything but common, as he was later diagnosed with a tumor in his tibia at just fourteen years of age.

Donors are heroes,” P.J. says. “To give away something like that - well, I really don’t have any words for it. They just are heroes.

Peter Williams, known by his loved ones as P.J., suffered a leg injury at age twelve while playing in a pick-up football game with his friends in the neighborhood. Oddly enough, this football injury might have saved his life or at least his ability to walk.

When P.J. went to have his leg checked out in May of 2012, doctors found something much more serious than a bone bruise, a muscle tear, or any other common injury brought about by football. P.J.’s injury was anything but common, as he was later diagnosed with a tumor in his tibia at just fourteen years of age. A biopsy revealed the devastating news that P.J. had an osteosarcoma. P.J. had bone cancer.

After the diagnosis, his life changed significantly and it was even difficult for him to attend school. PJ had to miss out on many days of seeing and playing with his friends. His whole family was affected, but he especially depended on brother to help him through the toughest days of his life. PJ received treatments and chemotherapy at the Cleveland Clinic where he was hospitalized until late August of 2012.

After months of treatments, P.J. received some of the best news of his life. His doctors notified him that over 97% of his tumor was eliminated by the chemo and, thanks to a tissue donor, a new tibia was available, saving his leg from amputation.

P.J. said his life is much different these days. He is back in school and he can be active in gym class and able to do normal teenage things such as playing video games, as well as the simple things that most people take for granted such as walking and driving.

“Donors are heroes,” P.J. says. “To give away something like that - well, I really don’t have any words for it. They just are heroes.”

Recently, P.J. was selected by the American Association of Tissue Banks to be a rider on the 2018 Donate Life Rose Parade float. He spent a week in Pasadena, California and met other tissue recipients, organ recipients, and donor families. P.J. said he made memories that he will have forever.

Incredibly grateful to his donor, this remarkable young man once again wants to say "thank you." Without their gift, life would be much harder for him and his family. “You’re not wasting your organs. It is for a greater cause. Everyone should donate.”