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Tracie

Tracie found herself forced to answer the donation question from a very personal perspective when her brother lost his life.

Losing a loved one is never easy. However, there is an indescribable feeling of joy, happiness, and pure peace that comes with the fact of knowing the memory of your loved one is living vicariously through someone else.

For a long time, Tracie Potts believed in the importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation. Energized by the critical need for registered donors, she started volunteering for Lifebanc in 2014.

Then, the unexpected happened, and Tracie found herself forced to answer the donation question from a very personal perspective. Derrick Wallace, Tracie’s brother, lost his life, and the family needed to decide whether Derrick would be an organ donor. When she was approached about this decision, Tracie recalls feeling “extremely calm, yet very numb. I felt a lot of emotions swirling around in my head as I tried to face the reality of losing my oldest brother.” How do you make such an important decision in the midst of such devastating circumstances? Tracie’s background as a Lifebanc volunteer changed the entire conversation.

“What inspired me to say 'yes' were the courageous and wonderful individuals I had the pleasure of meeting who were on the waiting list to receive an organ transplant. Over the years, I have watched mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, relatives, and friends fight the good fight in hopes of someday receiving a life-saving organ transplant. I was extremely heart-broken and emotional [when I lost Derrick], but I was honored to do my part in giving someone else the opportunity at a second chance at life.”

Beyond her time as a volunteer, Tracie was moved by Derrick himself. “He had an infectious smile that could light up a room,” she recalls, and his sweet, helpful nature, his reliability, and his devotion to his family confirmed to her that Derrick would have wanted to heal and save lives through organ, eye, and tissue donation. Even her grief over losing her brother has made her more passionate about getting out into the community and spreading the word about the importance of being a donor. “In my eyes, he’s a true hero,” she shares, “and I carry his memory in my heart every day.”

You might think that losing a loved one is enough of a tragedy without asking a family to go a step further by agreeing to donate their loved one’s organs and tissues. Tracie offers a thoughtful perspective on this sensitive issue:

“Losing a loved one is never easy. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things in the world to come to grips with. However, there is an indescribable feeling of joy, happiness, and pure peace that comes with the fact of knowing the memory of your loved one is living vicariously through someone else, and your selfless act of kindness has allowed another individual to have a second chance at life…The gift of life…makes me feel as though Derrick’s death was not in vain.”

Tracie continues to volunteer with Lifebanc and says that she “will always hold a very special place in [her] heart for the organization.”