Pam recently spoke at UT Southwestern University Hospital during an event honoring the facility for being part of the “Leadership Circle” of top donor hospitals. The award recognizes excellence in “Completing the Circle of Care” between donation and transplantation.
Pam shared her experience with hospital personnel from both sides of donation: as both a donor family and a recipient family. Her husband, Josh, was a heart recipient and became an eye and tissue donor after his death.
In Pam’s words:
Josh Canal was a hero in every sense of the word to all who knew him. He had the nickname of “Superman” from friends and family because of all he had been through in life. Yet he never once complained but took every opportunity to live life to the absolute fullest and did his best to make sure all who were around him did so as well.
In his profession he was also considered a hero because he was a paramedic. Josh went into this field of work for one reason – because the family of a 12-year old girl had made the decision to give him a second chance at life by donating their daughter’s heart after she was killed in an accident on her way to school in 1998. Josh wanted to share with the world what he was given by saving lives. He had an absolute passion for his job that could not be matched! He always said “You never know who I may help - it could be someone from the family that helped me in the only way possible.”
And now through eye and tissue donation, Josh is what he termed a "second chance hero." To him, and now to me, these are the tissue and organ donors and their families who make the life saving decision in the midst of absolute tragedy. These are true heroes!
I hope, when the time is right, to meet some of the people my second chance hero saved and helped with his eye and tissue donation. Because for us, there is no second guessing about donation – it is the right choice.
It is an amazing feeling to know two people have sight out of the beautiful sparkling blue eyes, the ones I miss so much. Josh was able to give sight to a 45-year-old male and a 62-year-old male. He provided skin grafts to burn victims at the Parkland Burn Center. Josh also provided bone and cartilage grafts to multiple orthopedic and spinal surgery patients.
Josh helped over 50 people!! This is astonishing to me and brings the most joy as I am able to think my hero still lives on, helping people every day! This is what he did best through life and continues to do so now through donation.
Josh was always very open and honest with us about his wishes to be a donor but I can say we had no idea he would be able to help so many. Now I stand here as a proud wife of an amazing hero.
Eye, tissue and organ donation is vital to so many. Please make the decision to donate and register your decision at the Texas Donor Registry. Then make sure your family knows of your decision to donate so this process can be easier for everyone involved. Remember, second chance heroes are needed every day!!