The Compass Spring 2023 - Page 6


Donor and Recipient Families Support Transplant with Gala

Transplant recipient Tim Gallagher and his family have joined forces with beloved donor Zachary Kwasneski ’ s family to spearhead the Gift of Life Gala .

6 ome receive the gift of second life while others give the ultimate gift . The miracle of organ donation has the rare power to change lives for both the living and for those who have passed on . For the dedicated clinicians at Baylor Scott & White Health , advancing the art and science of organ transplantation is a calling that gives them special purpose , while passionate donors come alongside them to help make miracles happen .
As Baylor Scott & White Annette C . and Harold C . Simmons Transplant Institute in Dallas approaches the 40th anniversary of its landmark solid organ transplant program in 2024 , grateful patients and donor families are preparing to celebrate this milestone year with the Gift of Life Gala at the Omni Hotel in Dallas on April 6 , 2024 . Chaired by Tim and Terri Gallagher and co-chaired by Dani Cook Barrows and Buddy Barrows , these friends come to this passion for supporting transplantation through very different personal experiences .
Tim Gallagher is leading a life made possible by the ultimate gift — a heart — and by the skilled hands of the clinicians who facilitated the transplant . After experiencing a heart attack many called the “ widowmaker ” in 2014 , Tim found himself on life support with irreparable damage to his heart . Advancements in care — many led by Baylor Scott & White — not only kept Tim alive but also prepared his body for transplant with five different surgeries . Twenty-four hours after being listed for transplant , Tim received the gift of life through a heart transplant , and his gratitude is endless .
“ Something like this shakes up your entire world , breaks apart all the various pieces of your life , mixes them up and rattles them around , and you are left the task to put them back together ,” Tim said of his experience . “ Of course your perspective shifts and the important things in life become a lot more clear . You think about the legacy you want to create — not just after you ’ re gone , but the legacy you want to be a part of right now .”
Tim and Terri Gallagher with their son Greyson
Through volunteer work , Tim and his wife , Terri , met Dani Cook Barrows and her husband , Buddy . They bonded over a shared love of supporting patients living with chronic illness and funding research and training that could help produce the kind of second chances at life that Tim is living .
It was important for Dani to see the power of transplantation from Tim ’ s recipient perspective , as Dani ’ s family would soon find solace in it . Zachary Chase Kwasneski , Dani ’ s beloved nephew , was a bright and talented college student lost through a sudden and accidental death in 2020 . Losing Zachary was unexpected and tragic for Dani and her sister Casey , Zachary ’ s mother , and their entire family and network of friends . Through the family ’ s patience , dedication and fortitude , Southwest Transplant Alliance and experienced clinical transplant teams fulfilled Zachary ’ s wish of being an organ donor . Remarkably , their perseverance empowered clinicians to use all of his organs and tissues to help others live the kind of full life that Zachary loved to lead .
Zachary Chase Kwasneski ( 1997 – 2020 )
“ Zachary was a one-in-a-million person in life , and we wanted him to be a one-in-a-million donor ,” recalled Dani . “ Someone is seeing the world through Zachary ’ s eyes , someone is loving their spouse or their child through his heart , someone is taking a big breath with his lungs , and someone is able to live a full life , free of dialysis , with his kidneys .” The legacy that Zachary leaves through these priceless gifts brings Dani ,
Casey and their families comfort . “ Leave a piece of yourself for someone else ,” Dani implored . “ Ours is a heart-wrenching story , but there ’ s a brighter side to it : I look at my friend Tim Gallagher and know the world is a better place because he ’ s in it thanks to the incredible gift of his heart transplant .”
By inspiring others to become donors
and by advocating for advancements in education and care pre- and posttransplant , the Gallagher and Barrows families hope to help give life to others — before and after death — by supporting the skilled work of solid organ transplantation at Baylor Scott & White .
“ Our families understand the role philanthropy plays in helping advance research , training and care for those facing transplant ,” said Tim Gallagher . “ We are humbled to chair the Gift of Life Gala to celebrate 40 years of excellence and innovation at Baylor Scott & White and to accelerate support that will create many more miracles for families in the future . We extend the invitation to everyone to join us .”
For more information on how you can support the Gift of Life Gala , contact Myka Boos at Myka . Boos @ BSWHealth . org or 214.820.2585 .