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One Texas mom is on a mission to save lives, one donor at a time

Posted at 8:33 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 14:55:26-04

According to Donate Life America, 20 people die every day in the United States because the organ they need is not donated in time.

August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month, and one Texas mom is on a mission to save lives.

She said when tragedy struck, being able to donate her son's organs to save others was an absolute blessing.

19-year-old Daniel Polhemus's life came to a tragic end in 2005 after a devastating car accident.

"We were in ICU for days, and the time was to make a decision because Daniel was not going to be ok," the young man's mother, Carmen Polhemus, explains.

But that's not the end of Daniel's story. He lives on in the organs he donated to give others a fighting chance.

"It really is a lifesaving procedure for other people, but it is a tremendous comfort for donor families," Polhemus said.

Texas Organ Sharing Alliance works to connect donors with those in critical need of a transplant in Central Texas.

This month, the organization is reaching out to minorities who are less likely to register as donors, an issue Michelle Segovia knows all too well.

"Being Hispanic myself," says Segovia, who is TOSA's Director of Communication, "We do not communicate about organ donation and what's going to happen to us after death, and I think it's an important conversation."

Another person ends up joining the ever-growing list of those needing a donation every 10 minutes. So, there is a vital need for more donors.

"13.2 million registered donors sound like a lot, and we are celebrating but still in a state with 29 million people, we have a long way to go," Segovia said.

Just one organ, eye, and tissue donor can save 75 lives. And that's what keeps Carmen going, knowing her teenage son is making a difference long after his death.

"It actually keeps him alive for us in a lot of ways."

You can register to be an organ and tissue donor when applying for or renewing a Texas driver's license or by logging on to Texas Organ Sharing Alliance's website. www.tosa1.org.

Additional resources are available online.

Joey Horta at KXXV first reported this story.